Mr. David Cahn with Blueridge Global Talks about the need for Supply Chain Resiliency

In this week's Industrial Talk Podcast we're talking to David Cahn, Product Marketing Manager with BlueRidge Global about “The Need for Supply Chain to Invest in Resiliency”. Get the answers to your “Supply Chain Resiliency” questions along with David's unique insight on the “How” on this Industrial Talk interview!

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Welcome to the industrial talk podcast with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's go. All right, again, welcome to the industrial talk podcast. That's right. It's about you, you industry here on if you're out there on video, I'm pointing right at your face right now. This platform celebrates you, you are bold, you are brave, you dare greatly. you innovate. You're changing lives and you're changing the world each and every day. And if you're not, you know, think, come talk to me because you are. Thank you very much for joining. Thank you for joining this particular celebration. All right. in the hot seat, we have a gentleman by the name of David Kahn, that ca h n. Blue Ridge global is the company and this is a timely topic because of this squiffy, whatever this market we call post pandemic, pandemic, whatever it is. Supply Chain must invest in resiliency. How about that one? Yeah, let's get cracking.


Come on. That's a cool topic.


I mean, I've had a number of conversations about supply chain and why it's important and it is important, don't get me wrong, it is important. But I think one thing that this particular COVID world we live in, we need some level of resiliency within that supply chain, because I think it caught us off guard. But you know what people like David, Blue Ridge, and others, they have answers because you know what we're all about here on the industrial talk podcast, right? You know, we're all about educating. But we want to educate in a entertaining way. That's right. And we want to be collaborating, and we don't just want to collaborate and chirping each other. We want to collaborate to come up and solve problems, because industry, you solve problems. And we have to collaborate to do that. We don't have all the answers. But when we get together in a collaborative way,


answers happen. I love it, you're solving problems. And then of course, we got to really think about innovation, we do. And they're not gonna happen if you're not educated. And if you're not collaborating, and you know, innovation is a result of that type of stuff. You got to dream, you got to think big, you got to work with people. The industrial talk podcast, the industrial talk platform, is a network of networks, where we're doing an industry talk, industrial talk. 2.0, how about that, because we want to be able to take you, industry professional, you, whoever you are, you know who it doesn't really matter, and be able to highlight your skills because you solve problems. Industrial is where it's at. Be on the lookout because it's pretty duck gun. Cool. I'd telling you right now, um, for me, I get, you know, I'm always excited. I am I do, I'm pointing at myself, right now, Scott does get pretty amped up about things. But this one I was I'm really amped up about because you could go out to industrial talk, you can then go to industry heroes, we're going down that road, you go to that industry heroes, right? And then you're gonna say, Well, I want to know somebody that's in, let's say, oil and gas. I want to know somebody that's in a, you know, IoT industry for data, whatever might be, and you can filter and find those individuals and their companies and reach out, and then find out everything that is damn cool about every single one. And then you're gonna say, I want to educate some more. I want to collaborate with them, because I want to innovate. How about that? I'm all tingling now. That's pretty doggone Cool. All right. Let's get cracking. Again, I gotta tell you, man, this was a pretty cool doggone interview. I really enjoyed it. David, just, he's got a lot of energy too. You'll notice if you go out there and a video if you go to YouTube channel, my youtube channel industrial talk, and you find this particular video, or you can just go to industrial talk and then find his where his podcast is located. You'll see the video there too.


He's, he's, he is infectious when it comes to this supply chain stuff. I'm telling you right now. It makes it fun. And I mean, it is entertaining. I'm new without a doubt. I'm thinking about changing my career to be more simple. No, I'm not. I'm sorry. That's, that's just me just putting myself way out there jumping the Shark Tank right now. But anyway, we're gonna be talking a lot about supply chain resiliency, and we do need it and what do we do? What are the strategies? David is out there.


He's got a badass stat card on LinkedIn.


Yeah, but you could find it on industrial talk and you're saying, Scott, Okay, I'm gonna do that. Yeah. David Kahn, he's bringing the lumber. Enjoy the interview. David, welcome to the industrial talk podcast. I'm excited about this conversation. How are you doing? I'm doing mighty fine. You know, living the dream, living the dream. And that dream is what?


solving problems on this solving, you know, the problems on industrial talk today. Yeah, that's exactly right. And I hear you, because that is important. And that's what people want to hear. problem solving. With a with a sparkly attitude.


All right, let's give the listeners a little background, a little 411 on who David Kahn is and Blue Ridge global and then we're going to venture into I like this resiliency in your supply chain and why we need to do that. Give us a little background. So David Kahn, been around the AARP supply chain CRM space for too long.


You know, Ben worked in manufacturing b2b distribution retail had my own e commerce companies for a while, built them grow them sold them


and, and driving really driving product marketing activities and content for Blue Ridge and and Blue Ridge. Global is isn't actually a supply chain planning provider. They're kind of a leading space in the


wine and spirits in the food service. Oh, really? distributing


automotive aftermarket? Yeah, I was you had me on line and spirits? Yeah, yes, they do.


Dramatically these days. So yeah. So they're doing very well. And they do pricing and planning and price optimization and planning optimization.


Well, the industry see it like that. And I mean, it was funny because the pre pandemic, right? If you can remember back then, because I certainly can't apparently, that was such a long time ago. But but apparently they were saying, but anyway, pre pandemic, we didn't realize how important the supply chain was right? Just like it you just took it for granted. You know, that product was on the shelf. Yeah, there it is. It's right there. It's ready to go. And then the pandemic hits, and then all of a sudden, Where the hell is that product? It's not on this. Then everybody all of a sudden said, Doggone it, where is it? And then they realize supply chains. pretty important. Yeah. As we go scramble for, you know, sanitary clothing and toilet paper and hand sanitizers and can't find them and empty shelves. And yeah, pretty cool stuff all sudden, it was but then that segues into what we're going to be talking about, I realized how


how, to a certain extent, how fragile that supply chain was, we just sort of took it for granted. And it was like, doing its thing. And then all of a sudden, there's a burp in the old thing. And then all of a sudden, boom, everybody's all pissed off. Tell us a little bit about investing in the resiliency. What does that mean? I don't know what that means. What are we really talking about here is that the pandemic and there's gonna be other crisis's, you know, that occur every, you know, every day, every year, you know, and that caused basically the supply chain disruptions that you talked about. And they're requiring really better visibility to supply and demand fluctuations. And that's really what, what we're talking about resiliency, and then how can I respond quicker. So you see, like, for example, unforeseen weather events, and seasonality. You know, we have spoilage on fresh fruits and vegetables, we have people hoarding items, we have demand for other items, you know, that comes to come almost to a complete standstill, you know, you got all these different changing business models, you know, you have foodservice distributors that were selling a lot to restaurants and that kind of distribution channel and now selling to grocery stores. And so whole different shifts and models are occurring. You know, same is true with, you know, the wine and spirits in a manufacturer starting to ship their business models and making hand sanitizers, you know, and selling that to totally different markets. And at the same time, you know, how do I get these products to the market, because of this, you know, there's labor shortages on drivers. And so, you know, so not only even if I was able to react, I got delivery and fulfillment issues. And as people come in, you know, people want to get this stuff faster, better, quicker, you know, they want to get used to ordering today and getting it tomorrow and getting into an hour. And so that puts unbelievable demand pressures on how I support and how I can respond to changes in demand a lot faster.


I'll tell you it


it highlighted just


That complexity that exists today in the supply chain and how, you know, that chain itself, there's some weak spots within those links. And, and once that one, one link begins to falter a little bit, then everything else starts to there's a rippling effect. And so, so the question I have to you recognizing that if you haven't taken this whole pandemic thing seriously, and made some adjustments, and making your supply chain more resilient, what do we need to do today to, to, to achieve that?


So it is a couple things. One is really, we have to fine tune how we drive our planning, and pricing, you know, and, and the amount of data that we're that we're coming into the supply chain, and how do I absorb that. So for example, Blue Ridge is using a lot of artificial intelligence and machine learning, based on that data that's coming in, I mean, this phenomenal amount of data is coming into the supply chain. And so at the same time, they you have to maximize or optimize the 1000s and 1000s of stock keeping units that you're delivering to the market, and through different channels. So you may have a, what they call a multi Echelon network where you're selling food, distributors, you're selling those distributors and selling to wholesalers. And then you're you're selling


to retailers. And so managing the inventory and the price point and the geography by category by assortment, you know, how do I effectively do that without using some level of machine learning or artificial intelligence to help me drive that analytics, you know, much more effectively, and optimize my levels of assortment inventory, optimize my revenue, you know, slashed my inventory, carrying costs, but really one of the unique things about


it, it all comes back to our, you know, knowledge of supply and demand, you know, traditionally managing that supply and demand. And one of the unique things is we started out historically with supply, you know, supply chain planning. And that was really managing the supply side.


And then we started to wake up one day, and we said, you know, we need to start managing our demand better, we need to get better visibility to the math. And so up came this house sales and operations planning, and we were marrying demand management systems with supply chain with supply chain planning systems. And so the next evolution really came with integrated business planning.


And really what we're talking about there is integrating some financial modeling into the system. So I can find to my revenue streams, fine tune my margins, optimize and even tune that demand that selling the products that I want to sell versus reacting. And that's really where the pricing optimization comes into the equation. So yeah.


David, it's interesting, you're, you're talking talk, you're walking the walk, you're doing all this stuff, that's really pretty cool. I just think that people because of the pandemic got caught off guard, I think what you're talking about is a very sophisticated level of thinking associated with their supply chain that supply side demand side, using AI analytics data, pulling it in and, and and being able to identify those nuggets of insights to make better decisions. I think, because of the pandemic, everybody's like, Oh, my God.


It's out there. But I mean, you're, you're a sophisticated type of guy. So think about it, you know, simplistically, let's kind of take it back level. So simplistically, no one wants to hold the inventory. Nobody want it


doesn't want it, the distributors don't want it and the retailers want to keep their inventory, you know, as fast moving as possible. Everybody wants that inventory to move as fast as possible. So we implemented all of these different tools to manage that inventory, as fast as good as well as we can. And so we want to know, as fast as possible, from the demand of when we buy it, how to replenish it, we want to we want to react really fast. We want to know which stock keeping units are moving faster. How do I want, I want to optimize the fast flowing, I want to do something with the slow moving, but at the same time, how do I balance that? And since no one wants the inventory, you know, everyone's running lean, so you get a disruption or get a spike in demand. And the supply chain is not ready for that. We no longer have that luxury of huge buffer stocks and huge safety stocks.


You know, everyone is, you know, we're delivering right today.


The consumer, we're deliberately cutting out the middleman in a lot of industries, no one wants the inventory. Everyone wants to accelerate that whole supply and fulfillment equation. And what's funny is, I've been at a lot of industrial sites, and they have this hush hush conversation about their bone yard. And it's, it's a special locations where nobody wants to carry inventory, but they have a bone yard. So when that whole problem happens, they have a bone yard, that they have this buffer stock.


And so the buffer stocks, you know, is really what they call safety stocks. And it is, you know, how do I optimize that safety stock, because I really don't want it if I can, if, I mean, the safety stock is like your insurance policy, it is. And so, if but if I had better forecasting, and better demand visibility, and I was much more integrated throughout the supply chain, that bought the stock was safety stock could be lower, and lower and lower, and it would reduce everyone's carrying costs here, here's my, here's my question is, is I get it, I see what you're doing. That's fantastic stuff, great thinking, great innovation in that mindset. But what if the, if I'm a, a vendor, and I'm just, I'm old school guy, right? I do it this way, I've been doing it this way forever. I'm gonna have my I'm gonna have a disconnect between my innovative thinking like what you're doing, and having that conversation with old school guy, and and see how I can optimize it. How do you deal with that sort of disconnect?


lexicon disconnect, I don't know. So I think really, you know, the, the problem is,


is that that person that was doing it manually, or spreadsheet wise,


can't do it that way anymore. He just can't. The reason is, is that we are now delivering, and fulfilling our customer customer demands, in so many different ways you can order on one place and have it shipped to another, you can order online and pick it up in the store, you can, you know, managing all of those echelons of quality of inventory, where do I put the inventory to optimize my demand signals? Where should I have? How much should I have? What? which items? Should I have that in it? You know, how do I how do I price those items more both effectively to drive revenues, wherever is the ones that have the least carry. And at the same time, people are driving more customized, personalized type of products. So the number of stock keeping units is going is growing phenomenally. You know, it typically in a high tech market, the average product life cycle is about 14 months. So there's new products coming out every day. So you know,


how do you


use and you should aspects without a system? I i what i hear you saying, David is that you if you're listening to this podcast, and you do it on a spreadsheet, I highly recommend that you sort of get into the 21st century, and begin to invest in some innovation, to manage that demand and supply all of the stuff or somebody who's just gonna go ride around you and satisfy their need to be able to not hold stock but have greater real time capabilities. So don't don't be left out in the cold. Right. Yeah, exactly. It's just not that. Come on. It's not that difficult. It seems to me it would be far more difficult to manage these doggone spreadsheets, then


not to allow the technology the innovation to do it for you. Right. It just seems I mean, we're there now. I mean, is so, you know, we've always kind of managed the supply side, and that, you know, we're getting better handle on the demand side. But what are the things that really can shape the demand and drive ultimate clean a forecast is that pricing optimization tool? So you're really bringing in financial metrics for the company that, you know, what is the target margins that they want to achieve? What is it? What is the high selling products that they want to move forward? How do they remove How do they move the slow moving items, or end of life items that we just talked about? How do I how do I optimize what I have and drive the revenue and shape my demand instead of being reactive? I want to be proactive. And if I can be proactive in shaping the demand that I want to sell at the price points I want to sell then I can supply that


more effectively and more efficiently. And I can lower my inventory, optimize my carrying costs, optimize my inventory delivery systems, optimize my fulfillment, for what the truck loads, and I need to deliver out to out to the channels. And


can I incrementally approach this problem? Because you know, as well as I do, everybody gets into that business mode, we're just doing this, we're just grinding it out. And, and and


we're not optimized by any stretch of the imagination, I'm just sort of to, in general, is your way of being able to sort of incrementally proceed down this road to do that?


So yeah, there is I mean, you know, you're going to start using a lot of start using, you know, before you start planning, you're going to start executing, you know, I got a react, I got a new customer, he wants this, and he wants this product, and I need to get it to that person. So you're going to react, you're going to use what we would call supply chain execution, you're going to optimize your transactions to fulfill that order, prioritize that order, get it on some truck and deliver it, you know, and so you're going to use different warehousing systems, different transportation management systems, that really drive execution of, of your supply chain, where you start getting the next level up is loud, let me stop that and do better planning of that. Ah, yes, let me plan better. You know, let me get a forecast that's more accurate. And traditionally, you know, your forecast


is going to gonna be off, you know, I didn't rock it, it was it was so mature over here, I could forecast I could sort of deal with it over here pre pandemic, but now the pandemic is good. I'm having a hell of a time trying to forecast this, like, because I have no idea what that that demand side equation looks like, because I so squiffy out there. How do I deal with that? So there's a lot of different technologies, a lot of different methods in which you can start getting real time signals of the demand, you know, think of integration from a retail or, you know, the point of sale system, you know, if I can react, you know, there was one example of a leading


perfume manufacturer, okay. And they, you know, they put out something like 1500 new products a year. And some of them, some of them are successful, and some of them aren't. Okay, but they gotta be react real fast to the ones that are successful in the ones at the same time, which ones aren't? Yeah, so there was a story where there were


a leading actress was on Good Morning, America. And she talked about this new mascara that she was using, right? And immediately, within like an hour, it's like that demand. And so that that manufacturer, and those resellers and wholesalers had to, you know, jump up their replenishment. So those demand signals are real time. Yeah. So getting closer to the demand signal, yeah, allows me to be punished better. Yeah, you need to integrate, you need to be able to, you need to connect, it's an integrated, it's a data thing, and you can pull it all in. But this is all great conversation. It's all wonderful. And I got my help. I'm shaking my head, you had me at Wine and Spirits at the very beginning. I was like, super homed in on this conversation. What are the roadblocks so


just like any other technology, it's, you know, people process and technology. So, you know, I have, you know, the ability, how effective Can I do change management, you know, and another thing is, hey, I've got all these other conflicting projects going on, at the same time, I don't have time for you need help. And, you know, I'm too busy putting out fires, fires, then, you know, try to get things you know, predictive. Yeah. So, I think, you know, moving from putting out emergencies and fires during the pandemic, to actually moving towards something that's more proactive, and planning in the new weld is, is gonna really help it. But you know, you you know, right now people are trying to get back to work, you know, are they trying to survive and trying to figure out how to rebuild and what do I how do I prosper going forward? Or is this just, like, digging a ditch and and filling it back in and there's no real progress being made. But But to your point, and, and for your listeners out there, it's always a human element and the technologies the technology, and you're gonna have great people talk about their innovation and, and how they're constantly adding to it. But unless you get people to really embrace it and recognize that this is important, and be able to prioritize their, their workload, for lack of a better term, it's it's always going to be something of


Have a challenge. It's always a human element. It's always that culture that keeps succeed or fails it is. So it's like, and boy, especially today, I find, David that the pandemic itself has created


a greater focus on things that are important right? Before it before pandemic, it was like, yeah, there's a lot of fluff a lot of crap out there. But now, people don't have that luxury of just sort of,


I want to focus on what is important, and executing it as fast as I possibly can, and adjusting and so on and so forth. Do you get that same sense? Yeah, you know, I, yes, I'm gonna say yes. And the way that I see people responding to that is,


tell me what I need to work on, you know, managed by exceptions. I know, you know, if, if I if I got all these different, you know, orders out there, you know, I tell me, the ones that I'm in danger of Tell me was the ones that are going to be late? Don't I don't, you know, I don't care about the 95 of them that are on time. Right now, I just let me deal with the five exceptions, you know, and so how do I, how do I get that material? To me faster? How do I fulfill that order quicker? You know, it's, it's management by exceptions, you know, but yeah, we're gonna let the data and the decisions to help drive those decisions on how I'll correct that action, or correct that exception, I'm going to leverage technology to do that I can use machine learning, I can use artificial intelligence to say, how did that I had a similar problem to like that, you know, two months ago, or a year ago, you know, how did we handle it, then, and let the system make recommendations, not only be kind of predictive, but let it be prescriptive. And so a lot of analytics are really much, hey, here's a dashboard of your problems. Some of them will recommend, you know,


you know, be you know, based on based on past performance, this is going to be late. But if if you can actually start saying I'm going to be prescriptive, and here's how you resolve that issue, then you've got, you know, some true value and with the, you know, with, with the newer generation of people coming on board into supply chain, let them leverage that experience, you know, and knowledge workers kind of technology, you know, brain trust that existed in the company, to how they solved that problems in the past and let them let the machine Help Help the new generation. See, it's cool. I like I like what you're talking about, right? Because I think that


right off the bat that the genies out of the bottle, if you think you're gonna be doing business the same old way. I mean, a, you just got another thing coming in, um, and, and you can't, you can't expect to survive or have some sort of legacy, if you're thinking that you're not going to have to innovate your business and leverage technology like yours. He just, it's just, I mean, either way, I'll put it. Yeah. And you know, and, you know, a lot of a lot of folks will say, Hey, you know, I have systems that do that already. You know, I already have an ER p system, and it does some supply chain stuff. And I already have that stuff. Yeah. And in reality, that's, that's like you said earlier, like, Where do I begin? So some of those supply chain systems within, you know, most of the MRP systems, they're really not focused on sophisticated pricing, they're not supposed to, they're really an execution system, or, you know, with for the enterprise. And what we're really talking about here is outside the four walls. Yeah, you know, we're talking the supply chain. It's not, you know, most of the EMP systems are going to hit you, you know, throw the production over the finished goods into the warehouse, and you may, you know, support the at an aggregate level, but it's not going to kind of fine tune, how much inventory do you need this distribution center, versus this wholesaler versus this e commerce warehouse?


That's not what it was designed for? No, not at all. So we complement so bluebridge complements the GRP systems that people are using today. Let let it be the transactional backbone that's running your manufacturing facility and let fluids be kind of the era of your supply chain. There you go. Dead sexy, my friend. All right. David Kahn has his name Blue Ridge, global is the company supply chain and how you create some sort of resiliency was the topic. I enjoyed this conversation and it's a we got to wrap it up. I'm sorry to hear that. Thank you very much for joining the industrial talk cop podcast, David Kahn. Thank you very much. All right.


Well, yeah, hello.


Hell yeah. All right listeners. We're gonna wrap it up on the other side all the contact information by the way, are you active out there on LinkedIn? How do people get ahold of you? So I am active on LinkedIn.


I'm on you just spell my name David cod ch n. Help. Yeah. Bingo. Easy peasy. All of his links will be out there. And do not go away. We will be right back.


You're listening to the industrial talk Podcast Network.


All right, what did I tell you, man, he is passionate about supply chain and being frickin Bob problems. That's what he's all about. You needed to reach out to this jet. Blue Ridge global David Kahn, you will not be disappointed one day, not one bet. If you're looking out in the video, I'm holding up one, not one bit. All right, we're gonna wrap it up pretty quick on this one, we don't really have time to waste. Remember, industrial talk. 2.0 is coming your way. This is a place where you you need to get a get on a podcast, you need to start developing that content about you, your company, and then be able to collaborate because we're building a market. And we're really a network of networks. Because we need for you to constantly educate. Constantly collaborate, to innovate, because we need you for the future. Industry.


I'm a big fan as you can tell. All right. Be bold, be brave. Dare greatly hang out with people who are bold and brave and dare grant me change the world. That's what we're talking about. Thank you very much. We're gonna have a great interview right around the corner.

Scott MacKenzie

About the author, Scott

I am Scott MacKenzie, husband, father, and passionate industry educator. From humble beginnings as a lathing contractor and certified journeyman/lineman to an Undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Business Administration, I have applied every aspect of my education and training to lead and influence. I believe in serving and adding value wherever I am called.

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