Ready to make the most of your shipping operations? Buckle up for a thrilling ride through the fast-changing world of supply chain logistics!
In this episode 15 of Banyan Technology's Tire Tracks™ podcast, host Patrick Escolas takes the wheel to explore the high-speed evolution of logistics technology. Joining Patrick in the passenger seat is Mark Baxa, President & CEO of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP). Together, they embark on a journey through the intricate web of logistics technology and explore the various digital facets reshaping the supply chain landscape. The pair navigate the digital superhighway, from AI to machine learning, unveiling how these tech marvels are steering the industry's future.
Mark also talks about his remarkable career journey, the golden opportunities in supply chain management, and the fine distinctions between supply chain and logistics. Learn about CSCMP's groundbreaking supply chain development model, the benefits for members, and how the organization is revolutionizing the supply chain landscape. They also delve into tech's transformative touch, environmental sustainability, the future of logistics, and CSCMP's influence on regulations and society.
Key Points From This Episode:
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
Mark Baxa on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-s-baxa-8360368/
CSCMP (Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals): https://cscmp.org/
EDGE 2023 Conference: https://www.cscmpedge.org/website/48864/
Patrick Escolas: https://www.linkedin.com/in/patrick-escolas-700137122/
Banyan Technology: https://www.banyantechnology.com
Banyan Technology on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/banyan-technology
Banyan Technology on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/banyantechnology
Listen to Tire Tracks on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/tire-tracks-driving-the-logistics-industry/id1651038809
Listen to Tire Tracks on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3Aiya6qVXFsiXbUAwMT7S7
Hey, everybody. It's Patrick, a soloist with another episode of Tire Tracks, the Banyan Podcast. Today, I have with me, Mark Baxa of the CSMP, CSCMP. There's too many, too many letters in there. But what that really means is the Council of Supply Chain Management. Mark, thanks for being here today. And I'm really happy to have you. And before we get into what all those letters mean, and what that council is counseling on. Mark is the CEO there, but really, I always like to start this with, Mark, you're on this council for supply chain management. And inherently, there's logistics involved and all of that. But I assume that somewhere you started before you weren't at this upper echelon where people are looking for you for knowledge. Where did you come from? How'd you get here? Why are you worth listening to?
Yeah. Well, I came from a hospital a mile and a half away from Wrigley Field. It's the Columbus Hospital. Now, great. Hey, listen.
Wrigley Field, man. The Cubs, The Cubs, Byrd. I'm a Cleveland man, and that's still burns. 2016 was yesterday. Plus, we're going to be the bad guys in that Disney movie, because it's going to be – there's the reset homerun that we take, and then you have the catcher who is on his last year before retirement wins the game. We're going to be the bad guys in one of these movies when they finally make the, finally the Cubs breaking the curse.
Well, you go for it. It's great. You know, the year of the World Series win, I got to say to my dad, "Hey, at least you got to see it on this side of the grass finally." Right? So everybody's got their time in the box.
I like that.
Hey, Patrick, it's great to be with you and your entire audience today. So, you know, everybody has a career journey and a story to tell. You may not think it's interesting, but it's also an opportunity to teach people a little bit about can do and will do, even when you think it's the element of surprise. I went to University of Illinois and came out a crop scientist, and started in the agricultural field, and worked in about five and a half years in the sales side of things, and had a reasonably good track record. And I received a phone call from the general manager saying, "Hey, I'd like you to come to the home office and talk about your next role, and it might be centered here in the home office." I'm thinking 27 years old, five and a half years climbing the corporate ladder, of course. I didn't even ask my wife if I could go. I just went.
Yeah, that sounds like the golden ticket. There you go.
That was the golden ticket until it came down to accepting the job, and she still didn't know what was going on. Not a good day at home. Yeah, I remember that. So take care of your lifelong partners, folks.
So what I would say is this, so I was lifted into an international product manager role out of Central Illinois. How does that happen? So it was a golden opportunity. And in that role, there was a fair amount of international supply chain. But it was at a time when those two words weren't put together. We're talking about 1987. So material handling and logistics were the norm. And I still had not become aware of at that time, the council logistics management or CLM. Until a few years later, I was asked to create in the journey, by the way. Went from sales leadership, marketing, and then back into corporate logistics. And that's when I really took the nosedive into this part of the profession, and I've stayed there ever since. I just fell in love with it.
Because if figured you learn it once, don't learn anything else, right?
You know, the key thing is when you find the golden goose, stay with it.
Did you know it was the golden goose then as you were getting into it? Or it's – because I know that for me, one of these things I've realized is, there's nothing you don't touch. You might you might think of it as one ball here, but then you realize that it's being played with all across by every different industry and everybody has to take part in it somehow.
Well, it's batting average when you're looking at different jobs and opportunities. And this is, mind you, in the era where people still said, "We'd like you to do this role" rather than kind of thinking about your own personal development, and telling people you have an interest like today. It was like, you got a knock on your door and they said, "We're changing your job." That's how it started on the international side. Then when I when I got to the logistics role, it was a few group, few executives that said, "Look, we remember what you did during the time of your international experience. And it lasted, you know made a lasting impression, the impact you made at that time unbeknownst to me." It had a legacy, right because I went on to do other things right. Coming back and they said, "Look, we want you to lead the corporate logistic role." I said, "Okay. How do you spell that? And I want to know what that meant." And they said, "Look, we're about to double sales in two years, and we need to create a pipeline so we can accomplish that on the logistics side." It wasn't even supply chain oriented. It was just logistics.
So I found an individual in the company that was actually a member of – prior to CSCMP's name becoming that, the Council of Logistics Management or CLM. And she shepherded me on to find the person who was in my role now as President and CEO, Maria McIntyre. Maria connected me into the Vice President of Transportation at Walmart. And at that time, I will tell you that it was a woman leader, and I was impressed with that, because at that time, there weren't a lot of women in this business. She gave me an hour and a half just coaching. You know, I went to Bentonville, sat in one of the procurement sourcing rooms. And she just talked to me about how to set the architecture up, ideas and exchange member to member. This is member value, this $100, turning into a multimillion-dollar opportunity, and it literally was that.
So I left and go with my Big Chief tablet, went back to the business, started talking to people, and they all looked at me like I had four eyes. They didn't understand any of this. [Inaudible 0:06:18] business don't belong this way, right? You just didn't do this. Anyway, through trial and error, we created some real opportunities, hired some people, made some things happen. And you know, look, we crossed the finish line, the wheels were wobbling on the cart, but we got it in there as we continue to grow and expand the business. And sometimes you just have to jump, you just have to go into career opportunities like this, and you asked, "How did I know?" It felt right, it aligned with my own personal talent profile, and I just began to discover that this was going to be something, a start of something really, really cool, and I've stayed there ever since.
I've tried different roles along the way, been asked to do some, and jumped into some, whether it be domestic logistics, international, global trade, and compliance. In my last four years in corporate life, I spent as VP of Strategic Sourcing and Supplier Relationship Management, covered everything from sustainability to our coop and intern programs, all the way through to strategic supplier relationship management. And it was a lot of fun and a great experience. When I retired from there in 2018, I started my consulting practice, still have a little bit of that going on. But really, my full-time role is leading the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. That's a short answer of how I got to where I am today, and it's been a great journey. It really has.
That's remarkable. It's awesome to hear that here you were, reaching out just for knowledge, and trying to figure out how to get into that world, and somebody gave you an hour and a half. And here you are, basically playing that role on the other side of it for anybody who comes in as you. That's awesome. Talk about just kind of full circle there. Within that night, we talked about supply chain and logistics. Are those two synonymous terms now? How should I look at that? How should the viewer or we know logistics as basically how to make something from point A to point B, and is supply chain the same thing or is there different nuance? How do you define it?
Well, we have a formal definition of supply chain along with hundreds of other things that we've defined as CSCMP for the profession. Supply chain is the interconnection of all of the critical functions from – really from the planning, the sourcing and procurement, manufacturing, logistics and distribution, the service aspect of supply chain, so customer service. Today, around that, you could draw a periphery of supporting functions. Everything from law, HR, and digitization technology. All that makes up the holistic supply chain. We used to say, at Council of Logistics Management, CLM that that was our core, which was really around logistics and distribution. In 2005, when we move to the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, we carried with it all of the other functions that make up the holistic supply chain, so we have two words.
So you really kind of broadened your sphere of influence or what you're looking at versus maybe from a definition at the very least of just logistics, of getting it to and from, to everything that happens before or after. Like you said, some of those peripheral, or tertiary ideas of it too.
That's right. Logistics in itself is a really critical function within the supply chain that has a lot of tentacles into the processes from planning, all the way through eventual customer delivery. Because everything that moves from raw material, the inception of the product that you might have a prototype, then you've got to source and bring stuff in, or move it out into the manufacturing plant, take it out from there into the distribution channels, either your warehousing structure, right? Getting it into the regions where the demand is needed or is present. Then final mile to the customer, logistics is touching all of these functions in some way, shape or form throughout the entire process. When you really peel the onion back, supply chain is an integrated set of processes, and physical movements that interconnect all of the functions of supply chain. But if you look at the proverbial carrier, or the mover of raw material to finished goods, logistics is tightly intertwined inside of all of that. Then along with that is the storage of the goods too, it's not just about transportation.
Right. Yes. You bring up some good points in where – yeah, as you were explaining that, I'm just thinking, okay, to get each of those steps, you've got to get something from somewhere and how that's going to get there, and how that can push back or set the schedule for that.
I'm opening my eyes every day I talked to somebody new, and this is – it's one of those things where until you're in it, you don't step back, and just think about where and how much the to and from touches every aspect of things. So getting more into CSCMP, what's the overall mission? We talked about where you came from, and kind of where, and how you broaden that from just logistics to the entirety of supply chain. What's the goal of the council?
Simply put, our mission is to connect, educate, and develop supply chain professionals throughout their career. When I say supply chain professionals, it's all of the functions, and connected functions that are a part of the supply chain. And our mission is steadfast. We take a look at that mission every three years as a board of directors, and look at – look to its relevancy. Do we need to reshape the statement? That really stays, and has stayed, and probably will for a long time, the core of what we stand for. People know us as the unbiased source of high-quality information and educational content, training, and development for the supply chain professional. That doesn't represent some really end game of someone else's mission, right?
To the credit of all of our members who are combination of academics, service providers, and practitioners, or shippers, everyone has voice. We have to be careful that when that voice enters the room, that it's an appropriate discussion, or it's an appropriate white paper or research paper that represents to the greatest extent possible the organic truth of what that particular article or discussion stands for. It's not about pointing or aiming somebody towards a solution that can be sold. That's the difference, right? We are a 501(c)(6) organization. We've embedded a 501(c)(3) foundation inside of the organization for people to make tax deductible contributions to our talent center. But this is really about the – it's neutral ground, but it is also a very empowered ground of members and affiliates that bring our content to market so that people can know it, understand it, trust it, and develop from it. That is truly our mission.
Okay. Does that mean that most your time, or the council's time is deciding on the curriculum? Or is this looking at it as credentialing, what's out there as far as a new source of information? Or is it also in networking, just making sure people are talking to the right people or combination? How do you go about executing this this mission, the simply put to develop as the kind of the highest unbiased authority?
Yeah. No, this is really great. We're very clear to tell people and show people where the information is coming from, and we do provide a multifaceted array of content sources that we know and that we trust. Some of that content is sponsored and presented by our members, and we're fine with that as long as it's represented in the right fashion. And they're thinking about educating the supply chain professionals. So if digital service provider that has a logistics technology, platform has something to share, they can certainly talk about the benefits of the technology that they're in the business to provide service providers. But really, more importantly is, what's the benefit? What's the so what factor? So help me understand, help me understand.
Yeah. So if I came in and started talking about banding, I could say, here's where automation helps out, and here's what we've seen in some of it. But I can't say, "Hey, and only way to do this, you got to talk to me and sign up for Banyan. That's the only way you'll see this." It's more of a general process point. That makes sense. You're not just funneling your members to, who can sell to them, it's really just more for a knowledge and for process understanding.
Exactly. Then in addition to that, we do create our own intellectual property around the R&D price that we have, such as the annual state of logistics report. Then we have white papers, hot topics, explores, and we've created a supply chain development model, that is under the SCPro family. And SCPro stands for supply chain professional. LinkedIn learning, all the supply chain learning that's out there is now branded under CSCMP. We call that SCPro Foundation. The next level would be SCPro Assessment, and that would be for a leader, or frankly, anyone that will take the supply chain assessment, and learn where their opportunities are, and we can point them to specific content to train them up under our SCPro fundamental curriculum.
So you can have people figure out what they don't know?
Well, it's essentially it. Then I like to say really what you need to know in your current role, and what's on the road ahead. Then finally, we've just unveiled the CSCMP Executive Supply Chain Leadership Academy. This is really about developing the next generation of leaders in supply chain, the next EVP of supply chain through business case, and other examples that they will work through to help figure out best path to solutions, but also learning core competencies that they need to survive as leaders, as we think about more of a thought leadership going forward. Because we look different today than we did pre-COVID. I think everybody knows that.
I'd say so.
And we have this surging of technology that is just amazing to think about. But also, it's the application and understanding heuristically if you can apply it to the solution set that you're looking for in your business. So we are here to help the professionals through various means, but we have the commercial channels, and we have the R&D channels, and then we have the dedicated learning and development channel inside of CSCMP, including certification.
Okay. Now, obviously, I'm biased. So if I'm someone that's working in logistics and account management or sales, what would I – would you be targeting someone like me to come to the council for some of these things? What would I gain from this?
100%. Because I know that you are a consummate logistics professional.
That was very nice of you to say,
I mean, that's the truth, right? That's where you're focused, and that's where your attention is at, and you care deeply about the things that you represent, but also the people you're positioning in front of. You are the individual that we look for, as well as the early in career. We're even going to the high school now, then the senior most leaders. So everybody has an opportunity to is, as Stephen Covey would say, or did say, sharpen the saw. You have an opportunity to know what's on the road ahead by working with CSCMP. We want you as a member, we want your company as a corporate member, so that your organization develops along the supply chain journey. Nothing holds still in supply chain. You need to know what's coming into logistics and what's going out, how do the processes work. And within logistics, there's constant innovation, better practices that are occurring that you can transpose into your own business. So working in the real life with Banyan, and then coming to CSCMP to help sharpen your skill set is a great one to approach to developing yourself.
Okay. I always whenever I do these conversations, there's a lens of industry, but then it's also for my own personal knowledge and gains as well, because I'm not selfless. But within that, I think you brought up, you're talking about how technology and a surge of it has really come in, especially post-COVID here. How has technology changed the landscape? I mean, I know it's a broad topic, but even in the past year or two here, what have you got? What have you seen? What has the council seen, or what do they think they'll continue to see?
Well, many of the technology providers, and supply chain, and more specifically in logistics are members of CSCMP. So they're quick to share the evolving nature of their business. On the outside of that though, what we are seeing is a kind of a multi-tentacle approach to advancing innovation from a digital, and robotic aspect of supply chain. Artificial intelligence, generative AI, machine learning, and understanding how to make better use of the internal data companies have, using some of these technologies, particularly AI. So we can look at a better way to either predict demand, look at supplier working relationships, understand where our risks are, all of these things, and many more are coming into play. This is accelerating really, really fast. The options are just like exploding now.
Probably it has nothing to do with COVID. It's just the timing, and availability, and access of these technologies. There were things that occurred through COVID, like nobody took a back seat that I'm aware of based on the data that we pulled together in a recent research study we did. Nobody backed up really to speak of on the planning and innovation side. They just made slow down their spend, but the interest, and the investments continued. People are continuing to look for ways to optimize their standardized business practices using digital technologies.
As Yossi Sheffi talked about in our recent executive inner circle, digital twins are rampant and very apparent. He talked about logistics, the perfect digital twin is you're in your car driving on the road, while you have a GPS telling you where to go, and have a mirror digital copy of what you're actually doing at the same time. That's a digital twin. There are many others like this that are occurring and the technologies that are being born as a result of this to help do more predictive analysis, and better predict better outcomes are something that is a big thirst for many, but also a concern for others. How do I adapt this? How do I adapt it?
The term digital twin is completely new to me, but it was a great explanation, and that's something I'll probably look into a lot more on. You tapped on AI there, which as you said, everywhere now and logistics is no stranger to that coming into, I know that we have green screens starting to be a part of the Banyan environment there. Now, so with technology and development, there's always the other edge of the sword. So carbon impact, as in sustainability is I know that was brought up, and considering you came from an agriculture start. What does the council see within the footprint? Is there carrots, and sticks, and regulations coming? Or is it more just from a moral standpoint, or even a PR standpoint for how people are starting to make those decisions?
Well, I deeply respect the fact that sustainability is a big deal in the supply chain, as well as carbon footprints and progress in this area. Let's just kind of look at the world as a whole. None of us really want to have slave bonded labor involved in our supply chains. That is apparent. In the US alone since 1930 with the Trade Act. Since 1930, slave-bonded labor has been prohibited to be a part of an import supply chain. It's incumbent upon importers to know that very aspect of their supply chain. This is not new.
We've reinforced this through government regulation out of necessity, and also to mitigate having bad actors in your supply chain, because that's what we stand for, is doing the right things right, especially when nobody's looking. The supply chain is accountable for this. When companies look at corporate social responsibility, when they take backs, just step back. You're looking at all of the throughput, and all of the, if you will, the underpinning of sustaining your desired level of responsibility as a company, falling on the shoulders, resting on the shoulders of the supply chain.
That's one of the studies that we actually put together with our research partner at MIT. This year will be the fourth edition of the State of Supply Chain Sustainability, and it covers ethical, economic, and environmental sustainability, and a little bit more on top of that. So it's a great benchmark tool for any supply chain professional, any company. I think the world that we're in today, supply chain stands for a lot of things, not only just the planning, sourcing, manufacturing, delivery, and servicing of products, both goods and services. But we stand for meeting the expectations, and needs of society. That is critical. Whether it be the essential elements of food, shelter, clothing, and medicine, to luxury goods, and everything in between. Supply chain is everywhere.
Those that are involved in supply chain needed really be proud of the work that they do. Think about what happened during COVID, and the stress that we were all under. Just think about that just for a second. I don't mean to dwell on the whole idea around what happened, and COVID. But you realize that the fear factor started when we couldn't find toilet paper. It got to be a joke after a while.
But it was scarcity.
It was very real, right? Combination of consumer hoarding, and whatever excuse you want. Shifting of the of the industrial supply chain versus the consumer supply chain. Nobody's at work, and everybody's at home now. We needed more. Those are not the same pipe. Those are materially different, manufactured different. You get the idea.
But when you look at the shelves, you always had something that you needed at your fingertips, we could find it. We might have had to wait a day or two more, but the essentials were all there. This is the strength and resiliency of supply chain professionals to make things happen. It wasn't pretty, and it was expensive. It came at great risk to many, many families, both health wise, and as well as just achieving results. In some of us, in the supply chain profession, really took it on the chin because we were the blame for maybe missed consumer demand expectations of job. Now we're coming out of it much better. But we always read if there's responsibility that we have, and that is to serve mankind well, and to do it in a most, if you will, strengthened way to uphold the very human element of this, and that is to do great things for society.
It's very interesting to me that, I think you said that one of the responsibilities of a supply chain, professional, and or at least what you're preaching is, you're not meeting the needs of your supply chain, you're meeting the needs of society. Then I think, you serve mankind well. This is – I wouldn't have expected that not to think that I think, Burns from The Simpsons toiling your fingers going, "Where can we pinch a penny and make some more?" But I completely thought of it more bottom-line productivity. But what you're telling me is it's very much more a holistic, big picture, how does everybody, and everything, and all these moving parts benefit together, and everybody gets what they want. That's eye opening to me. I know that if anyone's listening, there's probably a few people thinking, "Oh, crap." I didn't think that other – other people, especially within business, and especially the level that you're at are having these thoughts and not just because someone says, "Hey, I'll give you a tax break." For the fact that it's worth having, and it's important.
Let me add to that. Yeah, let me add to that just a little bit more. So total landed cost, and achieving the higher value products, higher margin products in the market, the right time, right place on behalf of the consumer is certainly job one because you're sustaining your business. That does not go away. But on the road ahead, as you're thinking about what you're actually doing, if you're involved in supply chain, you are giving access to technologies, and products, goods, and services that society needs, not only to survive but to prosper. That is a motivator. That's the context I want people to hear. You're really doing something for the greater good of mankind.
Look, I used to say too, and I've heard this before many times that, in everything we do, no matter what it is, no matter what we touch, or how we live, math is involved. Math touches everything.
It sure does. That's right.
In reality, I hope everyone now knows through the recent experience that we had that not only what supply chain is, but what supply chain does. And that is, this is the engine that helps people live their lives and prosper. We don't have our livelihoods and we can't prosper without supply chain. Supply chain is everywhere.
Nothing exists in a vacuum. It's all so interconnected now. Just different cogs in a very big machine and assembly. Again, it's funny. Within this, and for CSCMP, and you said you – as you look ahead, and you do all this education and this development, do you do anything within the industry from a regulatory process or standards? Do you align with the government or tell them, "Hey, maybe you shouldn't do this, as you're thinking about this." Are there any lobbying or conversation within the policies that may come out?
Well, CSCMP is not a registered lobby-based organization. However, we are interconnected deeply into supporting the intelligence needed to make critical decisions within the west wing of the White House and for other places. We help sustain the decision making by giving the best unbiased information we know how to support what's good for the economy, what's good for mankind, what's good for business. I think this is a critical play for us. We've actually grown our public private partnership, emphasis inside of CSCMP, since I've been CEO of the organization. Part of that is timing. We've had the baby formula challenge. We've had the risk of rail strikes, we've had the risk of a port strike, we have had other risks, right? So CSCMP, partly at my pen, and other people that are working for me, even our former CEO, Rick Blasgen, are embedded into various committees, and also a pipeline of information sharing within those who are serving our country on the public service side, our government officials.
So you're not necessarily lobbying, you're really just that source of information or that pulse. So that way, the people doing the policymaking can have that there as they need it. Okay.
That's right. That's right. That's a great responsibility, but at the same time, that you've got to love that you're involved with getting that information out not just from a business sense, but truly from nation building, or just supply chain for the government itself.
That's right. Our current administration that's in office today is very interested in how supply chains work, not that previous administrations have not been, but because of the challenges we faced through COVID. Now, some of the other outcomes of just labor negotiations, and other things that we've been watching in the news. Very much in the line of the logistics business. We have had – we've had opportunities to help them craft either decisions, matters of influence, or conversations that lend itself to a better outcome, at least we believe a better outcome on behalf of not only supply chain, but society as a whole. So we are very interested in that.
In terms of standards, we have many participating, either affiliated associations, or organizations, such as GS1 that come up with standards that impact and are used in the supply chain, digital frameworks, et cetera. Our members are constantly giving opinions and also sharing ways to derive outcomes. So we are involved, we don't create the standard, but we are involved in helping support what actually is the end goal of those that are actually working on those standards. These are very critical partners of ours from a learning and development perspective, but also influencing the outcomes for the supply chain.
And considering taking the knowledge that you and your organization have, and using it to different ends. One of the things that has come up more and more, especially in the recent years since kind of COVID is that, instead of having a lot of overseas manufacturing, more and more are looking towards Mexico, and there's a lot more logistics going in and out of Mexico within that way. Do you or CSCMP, do they have an opinion or thoughts on where that's going? Or is that too granular, or there's another person I've talked to? What about just Mexico becoming that next door manufacturer versus the international?
I would say that an opinion as a council of one option being better than the other, no.
What we will enlighten on are really white papers, and research that's performed in these particular areas, in this case, the geopolitical environment, shifting global sourcing strategies, looking at how better outcomes can be derived through one option versus the other. Creating a – if you will, a compare and contrast. So every supply [inaudible 0:34:47] and practitioner can make their own informed decision. So it's our job to help bring the perspectives on those, but yet, not conclusive. Because every supply chain is unique, even if it's a competitor in the same industry, in the same vertical, or same retail environment. We would not want one or the other deciding based on what we said is better because their models are going to be very unique.
The consumers they serve, and the businesses they choose to work with are going to be unique. All that having been said is, we will lay out the framework for consideration and how the decision for example, on whether the source in one country versus another, or whether you do something domestically exclusively, we'll share the experiences of others. And that's part of the member value is that you can hear it. John Maxwell said it best. He says, "If you want to know what's on the road ahead, ask somebody on the way back." I mean, how else can you say it? So we provide that by industry perspectives and also research that's been done in these given areas.
The other way we're doing, working on solving this is bringing peer-to-peer conversations together. We created and people can find this on our website, the executive inner circle. Among other things that we've created over the last 18 months, the executive inner circle is for the senior most leaders in supply chain to come together, and coalesce around thoughts and opportunities, and also risks with critical decisions. So you mentioned global versus local sourcing, or reshoring, friend shoring, all these various concepts. What have been your experiences? How do you think about this? Because I need to build a business case for what I'm looking at and helping in risk and rewards.
That's done in an environment where you just don't show up for a 45-minute briefing on transportation optimization or global sourcing of steamship lines, whatever. This is really a different conversation, right? It's at the 100,000-foot level. To answer your question in a deeper way, we're creating environments where these decisions can be brought out, and we're bringing people who have the most notoriety and critical thinking or authorship in these various subject areas to be a moderator in those conversations within the executive inner circle. So it's been a lot of fun.
So yes, at this point, it's multifaceted, but we provide the pathway for that decision to be made. We won't make the decision, or advocate on one versus the other. Unless, of course, it becomes an issue of human rights, and we're impacting humans in a negative way we might stand up, such as the war in Ukraine. I was very vocal about that, and the risks that that pose not only for supply chain, but human welfare.
That makes a lot of sense to not come in, and say, "Hey, here's the right idea for you. You're almost decision agnostic, saying here's the ammunition for you to make a decision based on what's best for you, or what your goals are. But we couldn't – we're not going to pretend to know what's best for you. But here's all the data, here's people that have been there, here's what they've had to say about it, and here, we'll even – we've got opportunity for you to talk to them directly if you need to. That's an awesome opportunity.
Yeah, and just to follow on, just real quick. A specific example would be, we sole sourced out of China, these finished – these ready-mades, retail ready-made goods. I'm thinking about diversifying to get away from the tariff impact. I want to go to Vietnam. Does anybody have any experience making stuff like this in Vietnam. We'll find that connection. On the other hand, if somebody wants to understand the risks, and rewards of moving wholesale business to Vietnam, and who wants to understand the supply chain, the international supply chain, and the facts that you need to consider for that –
We have studies for that. Those kinds of things are what we do for people.
That's awesome. I've learned a lot about not only you and where CSCMP plays, and kind of all the great value that not only I would get as coming in as a member, or just trying to better myself with education, but as an organization, why they should be interacting with it, or at least listening to you guys, when you speak up. This is kind of the part where I've been doing a lot of listening, and I've been asking a lot of questions, but this part where I kind of lend my soapbox to you, my platform, to anyone that might be listening or to viewing. What's your message, whether that's about CSCMP, the industry, or something personally important to you? Here's you're – not that you have a lack of platform, but here's one today. What's your message out to anyone that'd be listening right now.
On the most sincere way I know how, on you're learning, your own personal learning thoroughfare, and it really is that. It's not a one and done. It's a continuous journey of learning, and development, and supply chain. Most of that is indeed on the job. Some of it is through mentoring and coaching. But I would challenge everyone to think about what you need in your current role, and in your next role on the road ahead, and where you are in your own personal development journey to engage with CSCMP. Because we're that place for you to help you do that.
Upcoming right at the end of September, early October, October one through the fourth, we will be at the Gaylord Palms this year for the Annual Edge Supply Chain Conference and Supply Chain Exchange, in addition to the academic practitioners that will be there through the academic symposium. That will be taking place in beautiful Kissimmee, aka Orlando, Florida. We would be delighted to have you be a participant in this. There'll be over 100 Total sessions, including an expansive list of general session, really thought leader experiences in supply chain starting with Gretchen McCarthy from Target, EVP of Supply Chain on Monday morning. And we're going to be finishing up with some great keynotes on Wednesday morning, as well. We'll also break news at this conference. we'll be unveiling one research report that has never been produced before on Wednesday morning at 8am, And you'll want to be there for that, As well as much, much more in terms of content. Our supply chain exchange, better known as the exhibit area is going to have some real innovative practices, and some really ingenious ways of sharing knowledge in the supply chain exchange and on that floor. So there's learning everywhere throughout this four-day conference. You need to be in Kissimmee, Florida, October one through the fourth, you really do.
Really, finally, I'll say this, we have made some strategic shifts in the way we address the leaders of today and the leaders of tomorrow. You've heard me talk about the executive inner circle. We've also enhanced our capacity to train up the next generation of leaders in supply chain through the CSCMP Executive Supply Chain Leader Academy. I'd really love to see you engage in that area if you're the next in line, or developing at the senior more level in supply chain.
Then, of course, the biggest body of work, whether it's our centers of excellence, and transportation, and other functions, or all of the content that we have, or our specific supply chain functional training, we're there to help you as the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. So really, I thank you, Patrick for that opportunity to share. Most sincere, the value you get out of this from CSCMP is just tremendous. Going back to 1998, when I first made my entrance, and then the CLM organization found, and that was about $100 investment that turned into a multimillion-dollar opportunity for our business.
Hell on ROI.
Yeah. That's the way to think about it.
No. Thanks, Mark. I really appreciate it. For everybody listening, this has been Mark Baxa of CSCMP. He's telling you that knowledge is power, figure out what you need to know. And if you're in supply chain, talk to them because they'll tell you how to be one of the next great leaders, like Mark himself here and apparently a lot of the people they work with and deal with on a day-to-day basis. So if you're looking for information, please don't be a stranger to the Council of Supply Chain Management. Mark, it has been awesome talking and more importantly listening –
– to all of your knowledge and just what you do, what your organization does. And thank you for everybody listening and watching, and look for our next episode of the Banyan Tire Tracks podcast. Thanks, everybody. Have a great one. Bye, Mark.
Bye-bye. Thank you