Sedlak Supply Chain Consultants Discusses the Challenges of Increased E-Commerce in the Marketplace
David DuBose - Central Ohio Tech Power Player Honoree
VP of Business Development
Sedlak Supply Chain Consultants
Hybrid IT Professional
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VP of Business Development for Sedlak Supply Chain Consultants, David DuBose, discusses the challenges of increased e-commerce in the marketplace.
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MF: We're here today with Dave DuBose, who is the Vice President of Business Development at Sedlack Supply Chain Consultants, Inc. Sedlak Supply Chain Consultants, an end-to-end supply chain advisory firm specializing in distribution and logistics, is an organization based in Cleveland, Ohio with approximately 60 employees. My name is Marilyn Finfrock and I am with Flexential, formerly known as Peak 10 + ViaWest, and I will be your guest moderator today. Let's get started. Dave, what would you consider your top projects for 2018? The importance?
DD: Well, Marilyn, we implemented a CRM tool or customer relationship management tool, which is really, really important in our business. We're a consulting firm, so we are constantly pursuing leads with different prospective clients and being able to track who's talking to whom, when, document retention – all of that sort of stuff is very, very important. And, uh, prior to having this tool in place, we used, uh, well the first, years ago we used a yellow legal pad. Then we graduated to excel, which was a big upgrade for us, and then we, and then we moved on to an actual full blown CRM tool. Uh, it's actually been a great, um, it's been a great addition to our firm from a technology standpoint because we have a common language, a common way of speaking about things and we can track things like important dates and milestones and so forth as we're going through pursuits with clients. So it’s important to me as a leader of business development to be able to have that.
MF: So, the CRM is the repository of all the information, whether it's a prospective customer or existing.
DD: Yeah, it actually is both. Uh, we, I tend to think of it about prospective customers and clients more, but we also have existing clients for whom we do repeat work or extension work. So we, it's really kind of the source of the truth for us in terms of the work that we do, uh, and that, that sort of documentation around the whole selling process and business development process.
MF: Excellent. Thank you. What would you say would be the most important part about being a part of Central Ohio, and why do you spend much time with the technology industry?
DD: Yeah. So, Central Ohio is just a, first of all, it's just a fantastic place to live. I mean, that, people who live here probably would not argue with that a bit. Uh, but also, when I moved here about 15 years ago with my family, I really was welcomed with open arms. I came into a company that was in the middle of a, or really the beginning, I should say, of a turnaround. And I ended up, um…really I was sort of the accidental CIO. I had not done that role in my career before, but, uh, it was a small organization. We were going through a turnaround. We had some different staff changes and so forth, and I became basically the technology leader in addition to my other job, which was more around, uh, logistics solution development.
Uh, met up with Angelo Mazzocco, who I may talk about a little bit more later, but just a fantastic guy who really kind of recognized that I, you know, I could barely spell CIO, but he really took me under his wing and got me into a space where I could be successful, and introducing me to the whole community, uh, of IT leaders around Central Ohio and got plugged into that space, which was just fantastic.
Beyond that, um, as a supply chain, uh, expert or leader, I have been…Columbus is a terrific place for that as well. We're kind of the logistics hub of the universe. There are all kinds of distribution centers here. From a firm standpoint, it's really kind of our backyard. We've worked with a lot of the different, uh, uh, retailers in the area, for example. And there's an interesting, you know, really, uh, business community around supply chain management, logistics and also IT, and, uh, you start to see areas where those two start to converge, frankly, which I think is a great thing and it makes this a special place.
MF: Excellent. So. you're utilizing technology to build efficiencies for organizations.
DD: Yeah, absolutely. So, that's a big part of, I was just speaking with somebody about this, you know. Everybody, if you're in the retail industry, everybody wonders, “Well, Gee, what do we do, you know about Amazon?” I mean, they're probably not going to go away anytime soon. So, how do, how do I live in that universe? So, technology tends to be a big part of that. So, for example, with a retailer that is struggling, as many of them are, with their store’s presence, that bricks and mortar, uh, that's become more and more of a challenge, although they’re certainly not going away, there's a lot of potential for it.
But, uh, that has been a challenge with the onslaught of ecommerce and online ordering. You can get everything in the world off of, uh, Amazon. So if I'm a, if I'm a retailer that's not Amazon, then how do I live in that world? And what does that mean from the standpoint of, uh, my, my technology, how do I use my brick and mortar stores more efficiently, maybe as distribution points to, uh, service online customers? All of that takes…I'm just giving you one example there, but all that takes a significant amount of technology around how I route orders, uh, the visibility to those orders across the supply chain to be able to operate in an efficient, effective way.
So, technology is absolutely key to, uh, to our business, uh, whether it's that or, uh, a very, uh, a very common application in our business is implementing warehouse management systems which are basically, that's basically the technology to run the big distribution centers and you know, how do I, uh, we can take product in, uh, put it somewhere, move it around and then hopefully ship it out to a customer in a timely basis. So, that's really, really important stuff.
MF: Are you combining the CRM system and the distribution hubs for warehouse logistics? Are you, are they matching each other?
DD: No, they don't. That's really a little different application for us because the CRM would actually be kind of more our internal, our internal tool and the warehouse management system and order management system. But, but actually that's an interesting, it's an interesting question. Because there, if you look at the warehouse management system, uh, there are other pieces and parts that it’s got to connect to. And folks in our firm, we've, we got folks who are very good at helping to, um, to uh, put all of that, put all those puzzle pieces into place.
So, the warehouse management system has got to connect to a thing called the host system, which is, everybody has probably heard of like SAP or Oracle – those are the big systems that run the back offices of companies and take in, you know, ultimately one part of it is they take in customer orders. Well, that's all got to somehow get into the warehouse management system, so stuff can get, uh, items can to get picked and packed and shipped, ultimately. So, it's got to connect to that. And it's also got to connect to a thing called the WCS, the warehouse control system or WES, warehouse execution system. And those are the things that basically interface to all of the material handling equipment. So the, uh, the high speed, uh, unit sorters, the conveyors – all of that's got to be connected together in a way that'll be seamless so that if I'm, if I'm in the distribution center, I've got to be able to count on that stuff to do my job effectively.
MF: So you're utilizing technology to, with existing, whether it's brick and mortar for distribution hubs…
MF: How do you see that changing for you over the course of the next three years? From a technology perspective?
DD: Yeah, there's…so there's so many things that are happening right now with, uh, with IT in, in supply chain management. So, a big thing that people hear about is big data, right? So, that's, uh, you know, how do you, there's a lot of work that gets done on that in the Columbus area, actually too, as an aside. But big data and being able to take, you know, thousands and thousands of customer, and millions of customer interactions and orders and, uh, twitter feeds and all that stuff, you know, that is really giving, uh, it’s creating a set of a potential insights for the supply chain practitioner, for the folks who are involved in logistics and distribution, uh, to be able to leverage that to serve customers better. Now, cracking the code on how to do that efficiently is kind of the next – that's sort of the gold rush that is happening right now.
People are going out and figuring out how to effectively use big data to, uh, create unique customer insights, uh, doing things that are called predictive analytics. So, not just figuring out, looking at what happened, figuring out what prospectively will happen in the future. Kind of doing that sort of forecast based on a whole lot of data science is really, really important. So, there's a lot of neat things that are happening in that space.
Another area is something that you may have heard about called blockchain, which is a technology, uh, that, uh, you know, essentially sets up a standard for doing tracking and payment and all kinds of things. And that, when it was sort of just getting, well it's gotten some legs in some areas, but I think that potentially will be in, uh, another next big thing that companies use. It, uh, has some advantages around, uh, how it, uh, the security of the system is a big deal. And you know, with technology, you know, with security issues that are out there, that's a big, that's on everybody's mind, I think is, “How do I create a more secure environment for managing my transactions?”
MF: And not only that, but also utilizing the data analytics from business intelligence for prospective customers.
DD: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Yup.
MF: Professionally, what is it that you personally rely on for advice?
DD: Well, um, you know, again, back to Central Ohio.
MF: Or, shall I say, who do you rely on?
DD: Sure, sure. Yeah. But back to, well, that's kind of where my mind was going. So, back to Central Ohio again, I'll sort of hit on that again, this place – we're just blessed with a lot of great leaders. I mentioned earlier, uh, Angelo Mazzocco, who's kind of the, so called Dean of the technology leader community here and just a wonderful guy and friend, and just a terrifically smart guy. But Angelo and folks like him, I've found to be just terrifically, he's been a mentor to me, terrifically giving of their time to folks like me who, uh, you know, aren't as smart as they are, frankly, who want to learn and absorb. But just folks I would say here, uh, that are just, there's, there's a great community of people and frankly, for my personal community, it expands almost on a daily basis with folks just like, “Hey, can I go get a coffee with you? I'd like to learn a little bit about what you do.” And that has just been gold to me for, you know, professionally in my career. And I have had, I can, I don't think I've had anybody ever say, “Gee, I don't have time for you today,” if, you know, whatever. I mean. So, that's, that speaks volumes about, again, the community, which, if you can’t tell, I'm kind of on a high on. And uh, and uh, and that's, that's really, really important – people willing to give of, uh, their time and their wise counsel
MF: Learning from each other.
DD: Yup. Absolutely.
MF: Thank you for your time. This is Marilyn Finfrock and Dave DuBose. To learn more about us, visit comspark.tech. Goodbye, until next time.
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