How to ensure your supply chain visibility initiative succeeds

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Overhaul Your Understanding: End-to-End Supply Chain Visibility

Welcome to our new expert interview series, Overhaul Your Understanding. You can listen to our first interview with Frankie Mossman, Overhaul’s Chief Transformation Officer, or read the interview below.

Welcome to Overhaul Your Understanding, an expert interview series. I’m Amy Shortman, Director of Product Marketing at Overhaul. And today I’m going to be speaking with Frankie Mossman, Chief Transformation Officer at Overhaul.

So Frankie, as a way for our audience to get to know you a little bit better today, I am going to ask you a few questions to get started. If you could time travel, where and when would you go and why?

That’s an interesting question. I don’t think I’ve thought about that. I’m a pretty grounded person. I kind of like the time we’re in and the challenges we have. But I guess if I had to pick…the Elizabethan Era.

I’m fascinated by Queen Elizabeth, her history, the fact that she was definitely a rare leader in her time, both as a woman and as a single woman. And she was going through a lot with political events where she basically had to unify a country through her own politics and symbolism.

Granted, her family history definitely has a lot of background and baggage. But she’s definitely a historical figure that has always stood out to me as an incredible leader, both in what she did for her country, and then what she did from a global landscape and establishing some of the modern things that we have today around exploration and funding of exploration and just kind of new ways of thinking and how she created that kingdom.

Fantastic, great answer. And we’d very much welcome you to England.

What is one thing that you currently have on your bucket list that you could share with us, Frankie?

I want to visit Istanbul. My husband and I are avid travelers. I’ve had the fortunate experience to be able to travel a lot throughout my career and for my job.

We’re both very passionate about learning about new cultures, going to new places. And one of the key areas for me is to really get out, to go to Istanbul and explore the city, the culture, and just the whole climate of it. It’s definitely a bucket list item for me.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

The best piece of advice that’s ever been given is to stay true to my authentic self.

I grew up in the semiconductor industry and had a fantastic career. I had some really great champions, and I was able to work my way up as an operator from the floor all the way through operations management.

In one of my first leadership roles, I was struggling a little bit and I had a counterpart, another female, actually, a woman of color who had reached out to me. And one of the things that she commented on was that they were excited about bringing my energy onto the leadership team, but that they hired me for my personal energy — not to become like everyone else.

So what she was noticing was that I was starting to kind of blend into the background, so to speak. And the best piece of advice I ever got was when she said, be authentic to who you are, to how you solve problems, and to how you face challenges. And you’re going to have a lot more fun.

And that felt like permission to be able to be who I am. And once I started doing that, I did have an incredible amount of fun, got to learn a lot more and gain a lot more from my colleagues because of the perspective I could bring, but also recognizing this perspective that they brought.

It’s something that I’ve always held true to myself. And it’s a piece of advice I share to others when I see them struggling a little bit, is that, look, no one’s ever going to be you and no one’s ever going to be me.

So we have to be authentic to who we are and leverage our DNA to go out and get after it. And that’s really the best way to solve problems and really influence the people around you is to be who your authentic self is.

Thank you for that great piece of advice. In terms of your current position as Chief Transformation Officer at Overhaul, can you give our audience a little bit of an overview of your career, your background, and then speak a bit about your overall experience within logistics and supply chain and how you’ve utilized and brought that experience together, which has culminated in your current position and what you’re doing today.

I have a long line, about 20 years of experience in supply chain and in manufacturing operations.

The last 15 years of it have been spent in global logistics. And I actually think I’m very lucky in the fact that I grew up in manufacturing operations where there’s a tremendous amount of structure engineering, rigor, and control around the quality of the product that you’re producing is super impactful to the customer experience, right?

So when you’re creating these products, they have to be able to fit a form, fit and function and meet a certain level of quality. And that type of rigor actually puts you into a mindset of accountability so that every day your clock kind of starts. And, in the manufacturing operations world, you have to get so many widgets out the door, and the widgets have to be at a particular caliber, a particular quality.

That drumbeat teaches you to be accountable around time management, how you influence change, how you manage change and affect procedures that have to be in place to be successful. It also pushes the edge because it forces you figure out how do you get better every single day. It may not be one thing that drives 20 improvements, but it could be a process that allows you to improve, one or two things every single day.

You’re constantly always solving a problem, but you have that constant drum beat that you can’t stay in this mode of questioning — you actually have to deliver. So when I think about that experience, then coming into supply chain, especially at the timeframe that I came into supply chain that you need… There’s not always that rigor.

It kind of feels like you’re in this constant planning mode and bringing in that operational excellence and that rigor of that drumbeat. I think this allowed me to come in and quickly assess problems. Understanding the structure that had to be put in place and drive that through.

And then coming into logistics, almost the back end of the supply chain. What was really fascinating is that here’s an industry that’s held accountable to deliver 98% on time delivery. All the time and is never rewarded when they get the job, right. But it’s always connected to that 2% failure rate.

People who literally live in an accountability state of mind are constantly on the stage are never praised for doing what they do well. They’re only remembered for what they don’t.

These experiences really complemented each other. Because again, you have this drum beat, right? That you have to find a way to get the box delivered in an audience of folks who go, I don’t know how it’s that complicated, right? It’s a box, you move it from A to B, not recognizing all the things that go in between.

So I think coming in from that background of having very thick skin, understanding that things have to get out the door and they have to get out the door the right way, coming into a climate where they’re having to figure out how to make sure that execution happens every single day, I think complimented really well.

But it also forces bringing in concepts, like what kind of KPIs do you really need to be measuring? How do you comprehend cost savings and bring in quality concepts and actually be able to measure progress in a way that people can see that benefit and feel that benefit that also has a direct line of customer experience, right? The customer definitely notices when the box doesn’t arrive on time, or the wrong things are in the box, or the box gets damaged.

So I really love that whole component of it. And I love the level of accountability that type of culture is involved in. Because I think it brings a whole sense of self awareness. There’s a respect around being able to get that job done and it forces that.

Time can sometimes be a luxury. And I think it forces a time constraint where there’s actually more creativity because you don’t have the luxury of just sitting back. You’re constantly on the move trying to figure out how to make things bigger, better, and cheaper.

So you’ve been in the industry for a while and over time things have evolved. Can you tell us a little bit about the transformation in terms of digital transformation and how that’s changing the traditional supply chains? And in addition to that, how digital transformation is helping to resolve some of those major pain points for logisticians?

I would say that I’ve been around long enough where I actually saw, where you can still see it actually in some cases — paper picking.

So basically the orders drop as a print-out, which in and of itself is technology. With the print-out, they actually go out into the aisles and are picking off of paper, then bringing the paper back that gets married together to create the shipment. And I think where we’re seeing warehouse management systems and transportation management systems and the rise of handheld technologies, anything through glass scanners. And even hearing with audio where, you can actually call out the number and it tells you what items you need to pick up from that item is all starting to really revolutionize, not just from an efficiency, but even from an employee safety, right? So where you’re holding a stack of paper, you’re riding around on a forklift or you’re having to go up and down the fact that your hands are free and that you can be more stable to focus on that I think is huge.

And we’re seeing more adoption as that type of technology becomes more and more commoditized. The big industrial companies are coming out with even better products, more hand free, with longer battery life. You don’t have to plug these things in and drag a cord around, et cetera.

I think all of that is really exciting tech that often doesn’t get touched upon, since most of the time we’re focused on software. But I think that was a big part of helping specifically in our warehouse and distribution channels, to go from paper to paperless is in those types of aspects.

And as we see more, where Google glass and things again with the audio, I think are going to further enrich that experience. On top of that, I think the involvement of warehouse management systems and transportation management systems or allowing the supervisory, if you will, at the logistics table, make broader decisions around perfecting fulfillment, perfecting peak times during their operational hours, and better trying to consume shipping consolidations.

I think that first and foremost is that there are razor thin margins in the freight and warehousing industry. So a big part of what they’ve driven is cost and trying to find the lowest cost provider, being able to automate bids and bring that out there. With all that said, I think there’s still a long way to go in rationalizing rate cards and being able to interpret that, and being able to do a much better job of consolidating shipments both day and weekly.

A lot of times what we see is a whip effect of demand coming in very frequently and people trying to react to that demand. And therefore that’s eroding whatever savings you might’ve had by picking a low cost provider. In some cases you’re even driving a behavior where you want to pick a low cost provider. When in reality, you’d save more by going to somebody else that maybe has a slightly higher rate, but has a better overall capacity model of what’s going through.

I think we’re just beginning to scratch the surface on how we’re leveraging software tech to make us more efficient buyers. On top of that, I think there’s a whole world and blind spot around inventory management. That’s not being taken advantage of that. And some of the barriers around that are that we’re all in some form of digital transformation or evolution on what level of ERP we have in, how much integration we have in with those backend systems like WMS and TMS.

And there’s a lot of data out there. And just knowing how to consume the data and the pattern of behavior that you want to study, to make corrections either in your writing guide et cetera, are all factors into that.

Not to mention as you go deeper and deeper into the retail channels and the requirements, they have to be able to consume deliveries into their space. I think it’s an exciting area. I think we’re on the cusp of being able to bring those dots together. That’s going to make it more powerful, not just to be used in, “let me find cheap freight,” but more around delivering inventory. And that’s the best way to maximize and optimize inventory delivery across the entire chain, not just from one node to the other.

So Frankie, you mentioned that a large part of what your job is and a logistician’s job is to look and find those efficiencies. Can you tell me a little bit about the kind of correlation between the benefits of utilizing technology for lean processes, such as Six Sigma, and how they work together?

The core of Six Sigma is about reducing defects and comprehending the defects per million that you want to be able to attack in order to drive quality and kind of see where you’re going to do efficiencies. And I think where the Overhaul platform has marked itself as being unique, is that we’re helping connect dots that allow you to put together what could be creating that defect.

So if you have a defect, let’s say on time delivery misses. And the initial problem is, well, we just can’t get it there on time. Right. And we don’t know why we can’t get it there on time. We have short lead time, we’re using the fastest service, et cetera. It really only is scratching the surface of the problem.

And where the Overhaul platform is able to bring in components of who the driver is, what the route looks like, what kind of common carrier is being used when it departs, how long it takes to depart, how long it takes to get into delivery and whether or not that delivery gets rescheduled and then bringing that into the intimate details of the PO.

So what’s in that box, what’s in the pallet, what’s in the truck, all of those data elements coming together actually highlight several problems, not just one single problem. It could be that every time you go to that particular delivery location, you’re always going to lose a day and a half because the yard management is not prepared to accept the delivery. So that brings into question, can you, we can now then generate ASNs or other shipment notifications that enable the delivery to know when a shipment is coming and better plan for that delivery to come in? We might be losing time on the origin end because of the way that the yard scheduling is happening at origin and when a delivery appointment is made versus when a driver is able to pick up. So something as simple as changing the appointment time for pickup by an hour, or changing out the carriers so that you have more reliability.

So you’re not only looking at the defect, but you’re exploding out what are all the variables that are impacting that defect. And that’s something that the platform, the Sentinel platform that Overhaul delivers does very well, is connecting multiple dots of this aggregated data that come together that form a pattern of behavior. That’s actually driving the issue.

So instead of thinking, “Oh, I have an on-time delivery problem.” Now it’s “I have an on-time delivery problem” and there are ten knobs I can go turn now to go improve that delivery and itemize out the impact of each.

So in terms of looking at how we are using data to give data meaning and the value for organizations, Frankie, do you have any examples of how technology and data allow for that complete end-to-end visibility of a supply chain and how that could result in cost savings for companies?

I think, first and foremost, managing rate cards and the managing the adoption of how well somebody is following a routing guide, which would then translate to, okay, they’re following the routing guide, they’re using the rate card that we just negotiated. And we probably spent a lot of man hours negotiating and getting stood up.

You should be able to then see, I was spending X. And now that we’re on the new provider after several weeks of running through, we’re spending Y, and there’s an incremental difference in costs as a result of using the more cost-effective tight provider. A lot of times what happens is that right off the get go, you’re unable to translate whether number one, the routing guide is even being followed and the right rate card is being used. That’s problem number one.

Problem number two is that there’s this anecdotal issue around higher quality and whether or not there’s an effectiveness of the supplier delivering on time, executing standards of care, whether that’s specific to type of routes or an on-time delivery, et cetera. I think what data allows to have happen, is it sterilizes the conversation.

Now you can have an objective and meaningful, quarterly business review, as an example. With your transportation provider that actually shows, “Hey, this is how often we missed an on-time delivery. This is how often things got damaged. This is the cycle time and the claim, Oh, by the way, your network tends to stop two times more than the incumbent did.” And all of those have an impact to cost and delivery, cost of service, et cetera.

But tying that bit into a qualitative conversation around, “Hey, what we really need is X. What we’re really getting is Y. Here’s data that proves that we need to change provider and go someplace else.” Has a cost benefit because one, you’re improving your internal metrics, you’re improving your experience with the client. So they’re going to be more likely to have less claims against you and less issues against you, fundamentally you’re spending, maybe per rate, a little bit more, but overall for your supply chain, for your network, you’re spending less because you’ve eliminated all these errors that were taking place.

But you have to have data to be able to see those patterns. And a lot of times things get lost through the noise. You might have a significant issue with the carrier, but by the time you sit down to actually review their performance and review the progress that’s been lost in the noise of the day to day. The data helps bring together that pattern of behavior, whether that’s great behavior, and you could demonstrate, look, we’ve made the right decision in selecting this, or bad behavior where, “Hey, it’s time to really make a fundamental change and go through with it.”

I think it’s a two-way street. We all want to know where we stand, whether we are the customer or the supplier. And so being able to bring that data to kind of neutralize and add context to the conversation, I think is key. At a very tactical level.

Yeah, you can save money on your network cost, right? You’re spending less on freight. You’re spending less on claims. Both for the effort, you have to put into filing them against the supplier and or inversely a customer coming at you. You’re saving overall money on just man hours and how you’re managing the supplier relationships, et cetera. Tactically, there’s definitely dollars that hang in the balance, but functionally managing your network and being able to comprehend the efficiencies of the overall network, I think is even more powerful.

That’s where data and the whole need to invest in digital transformation continues to be something that we’re all striving to get out or to push forward. And that’s the type of solution Overhaul offers is being able to connect those dots, see that pattern of behavior that you have to work on.

You’ve been on both sides of the fence, so to speak, as a shipper as well. Is there anything you’d like to share with the audience members who are listening in, who are shippers to help them overhaul their understanding of that end-to-end supply chain risk management solution and how would they start to navigate towards looking at implementing such a solution and the kind of benefits that they can start receiving?

And in addition to that, we often see within the logistics industry, many silos between different departments in organizations, the real kind of a collaborative approach that they could use of how to, how the information could benefit different silos. So what advice would you give to somebody starting out on this journey?

At a very basic level, it is definitely understanding the internal conflict of KPIs.

Every function has their health metric and the health method they’re striving for and what they get measured on in terms of their performance. But to have significant change, you’re going to have to go from making a play to being a playmaker. And that means understanding the internal metrics and how those compliment or contradict, and that does happen at times, right?

So as a logistician or as a logistics partner, being at the end of the supply chain, a lot of times you’re going to get that whip cord effect of, “Hey, you’re costing me too much money, go reduce cost” or
Hey, you take too long figure out a faster way, but also by the way, don’t spend too much money.”

And if you stay within that problem statement, you get very shortsighted and then it just becomes, I’m just going to constantly beat up my transportation providers, my distribution providers, and squeeze cost out, squeeze cost out.

And that’s a strategy. You mean you could definitely do that, but I don’t think it has the longer, bigger network impact that most people are driving for. So the best advice would be to go comprehend the problems of your peers — what’s happening in direct materials. What’s happening in planning, what’s quality facing right now, and start to architect more strategic statements that actually impact the entire supply chain. Because what you will find is the solutions that will help you out, which a lot of times they’re created because of poor planning of pulling in demand, changes in capacity that are not communicated,  allows you to bring together broader metrics that help your upstream guys look better, help you look better, but allow you to approach a problem in a much more significant way than just looking at your individual silo. So that’s number one.

Number two, data is always going to be king. So, the supply chain veterans I grew up with, it’s another bit of piece of advice: trust, but verify, right? So a lot of times we’re going into conversations very anecdotally about our position in the world or our position in space. And we’re not bringing data to those conversations.

Data is key and it’s not just data in one scenario, it’s a pattern of behavior that’s happening either over time, over product, over different types of business categories that needs to be looked at. And that helps to establish the common ground, which then you can go after that.

Lack of data and being able to show a pattern of why that lack of data is actually a blind spot and how that can be impactful, so whether or not you want to improve or you can’t improve because you’re unable to see the problem helps to open up that door for the data journey that you and your peers within the supply chain have got to go on.

But if you can bring that to a common ground across the KPI that impacts the entire chain, there’s a much easier way to then bring everybody to the table to go make decisions around bringing the tech that you need to go solve those issues and bring that problem forward. And I think we need to be leveraging folks like Overhaul, like the position that I’m in today and other tech partners in helping us facilitate those conversations.

A lot of times the opportunity is seized upon the one silo that is saying, “Hey, I have this problem,” when in reality, that problem is much bigger, and much wider, and actually has a bigger impact at an enterprise level. And that’s really what we should be attacking. So when I come into the room and I work with a client, I’m looking at that broader issue and in challenging are we really have all the data in the room to solve the actual problem, not just the sliver that we’re getting the visibility to at this point.

So in terms of the industry, and it’s often perceived that we are within the logistics industry, far behind other industries in our approach to embracing technology.

What’s your thoughts on that in terms of the speed and whether recent events like COVID-19 have accelerated everyone’s ability to embrace technology a little bit more, the Zoom meetings and everything that people are on? Do you think that the logistics industry is catching up as a whole?

I still think we’re far behind. I absolutely love the logistics industry. You’re talking about a community, a culture of people that live in an environment that, in my time, as a global logistics leader, I was never once called and said, “Hey you did a good job delivering that freight” or “The warehouse did not lose my stuff, thank you so much.” I only got phone calls about everything that wasn’t going right. Whether that was in our wheelhouse or a third-party wheelhouse, right? Having to go solve that problem. I absolutely think it’s a community of problem solvers and creative thinkers, but that can also be a hindrance for us. So it’s a lot harder to want to adopt technology where we feel we’re losing control. And we don’t have that ability to touch. I was physically in a warehouse where they were demonstrating to me to transition from going to paperless.

And I got to hang out with the shift leaders and follow them through their day. And in their honest answer, they’re like, “I miss the paper.” I was able to use the paper to kind of control my workflow. I was able to use the paper to control what resources I would tag for the more complicated orders that we have to pick for the day, et cetera.

There’s still this bias — that if I can’t control it, then I can’t make a change. I think we have to culturally get over that hurdle, but I do see us kind of coming around the corner. But if you think about some of the huge advancement in supply chain innovation, and I love to drawback onto for example, like from Walmart, one of the biggest changes we had was the barcode label, standardizing the barcode label across the entire industry, which had a domino effect around just inventory management and how quickly inventory could get to a shelf to a consumer and how quickly that shelf could be replenished.

And if you think of the core of where that had to come from, that came from logistics, right? Now, granted it’s like 25 years old tech now, but that single thing in and of itself talks about how the entire chain can have an impact on that and how you can drive that through.

So we’re still behind, I think a big part of that comes down to the cost and being able to demonstrate ROI again in general, logistics industries tend to be razor thin margins. And for most corporations are a direct line impact to revenue. So you have to be mindful of how the investment that you make and you have to be able to demonstrate that ROI very, very quickly.

One of the things that excites me about Overhaul and about our solution is how quickly we can stand up a digital solution and being able to track and monitor shipments, whether that’s for a security use case or a logistics use case, and then be able to bring that data together, to actually show the improvement in overall network efficiency, whether that be from a more secure network or improving on-time delivery or improving the quality that goods arrive at their destination.

I think is something that’s really powerful about the solution that we’re delivering today is that ability to connect those dots very quickly. And to translate that so that if I’m a customer service agent, I can see that from the sales order number, if I’m a buyer, I can see that from a PO number, if not a general supply chain manager, I can see overall, the effects that we’re having on positive effects of how we go through, and if I’m procurement I’m able to manage my supply base better because I have an actual, tangible data that I can hold them accountable to.

Fantastic. On behalf of the whole of the global logistics industry, I’m going to take this opportunity to thank you for all those times you and all the divisions globally got it right.

My final question for you, Frankie, is really about your role as Chief Transformation Officer. What’s your vision for Overhaul and where you see it going and your role within that?

I absolutely want us to be that disruptor that I think there’s definitely that we hear the phrases app fatigue, digital fatigue, falling into the valley, disillusionment.

I want to be the disrupter that actually completely changes the landscape. When people think about data, when they think about connectivity, I want to completely reset and re-energize the thought processes around active tracking and the impact of active tracking.

More importantly, I want to be able to, and we’re doing this today with our current client base, demonstrate the power of insight, the power of intelligence. We talk a lot about data, and I think the reason why data always becomes this paramount thing that we hear in most conversations is because it’s either overwhelming. We can’t get to it. And if we can’t get to it, we don’t know what to do with it.

And I think where Overhaul is really going to become a defining force is not only in being able to give visibility on supply chains, but to be able to provide intelligence insights about how the supply chain is performing and how to make that better and how to improve upon it. I think the most exciting thing for me is to be able to see the problems. If I could see the problems that means I can fix them. And I believe that’s what Overhaul is going to be able to provide to our existing clients and our new clients to come, we’re going to actually let them see their actual network warts and all, to be able to begin that journey on how to improve it and how to make it better, which is going to delight their customers and just creates an overall domino effect of power. I want to be that that disrupter, that actually makes this conversation around digital transformation mean something.

Well, I’m sure with that innovative leadership, that Overhaul will not only achieve that, but also surpass the industry expectation.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you Frankie, for being our first interviewee on the Overhaul Your Understanding series. It’s been great to talk to you and thank you very much for sharing your industry insights with us!

Learn more about how Overhaul is transforming end-to-end supply chain visibility by scheduling a demo today.

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