Supply Chain Standouts: June 26th

This week’s shoutouts focus on collaboration, innovation, and building back better. These are core themes that are top of mind for those seeking greater resiliency across their supply chains. Starting with the spirit of sharing, Morocco recently donated eight million masks across fifteen different countries, demonstrating solidarity and the communal effort required to address the pandemic. The project aims to promote best practices while elevating the role of cooperation in mitigating the public health, economic, and social consequences.

In an additional display of collaboration, a new continent-wide online marketplace focuses on improving protection against COVID-19 across Africa. We previously highlighted the rise of regional agreements to secure and optimize supply chains for critical goods. This is the latest indicator of this growing trend, where this one-stop online shop aims to address test and PPE shortages and build robust distribution of COVID-19 tests and personal protection equipment (PPE) by leveraging the power of volume to decrease costs and increase output. South African president, Cyril Rampaphosa believes this will be “the glue that is going to bind the continent together.”

Increasing PPE output was also the driving factor behind Takataka Plastics’ creation of face shield masks as Uganda entered quarantine. The company quickly transitioned from converting melted plastic waste for building materials – such as roof tiles – to using the plastic to craft plastic face shields.  This effort is simultaneously addressing the pandemic and environmental waste.

This kind of entrepreneurship is often a silver lining that emerges during crises. While the pandemic’s impact on economic contraction is unprecedented, it is also sparking new innovations and introducing market opportunities for startups. Previous financial crises inspired new businesses to meet changing needs, and this time may be no different. Specific areas where experts see the greatest customer needs include those that help customers with, “educating their children, working from home, managing supply chains, getting a haircut or the house cleaned, seeing doctors and therapists, entertaining themselves.”

As collaboration and innovation continue to inspire, there is growing discussion of building back better, with a focus on creating a more resilient and sustainable global economy. A core component of building back better includes an emphasis on global supply chain agility and alternative sourcing. As companies reassess their procurement process and take inventory of their suppliers, they should track those suppliers that are historically underutilized businesses (HUB), and even more importantly, increase their presence throughout their supply chains to fill in gaps or diversify from concentration risks. With this expanded focus on supply chain diversification, building back better will not only improve corporate resilience, but also support a more resilient society and economy.

Check out our previous Supply Chain Standouts or learn more about increasing resiliency.

The Perfect Storm Survey: Changing Perspectives in Globalization

Two weeks ago, joined Ilaria Maselli, Senior Economist at Conference Board, on a webinar to explore the impact of COVID-19 on global supply chains and what to expect nextThe discussion addressed the significant transformations that are underway regarding globalization and global supply chains. After decades of focus on just-in-time production and optimization, as well as increasing complexity, geographic dependencies, and insecurity, global supply chains became extremely fragile and lacked the resiliency to withstand such an unprecedented public health and economic shock. We explored the evolution of global supply chains, recommendations to increase resiliency, and what to expect during the transformation to a ‘new normal.’  

As part of the discussion, we posed three different questions to the audience to gauge a variety of perspectives on global supply chains and how they are preparing for an uncertain future. 

Question 1: How do you expect globalization to evolve when the global economy recovers from the COVID-19 shock? 

Many headlines fall into one of two views of the future: either globalization is dead or globalization will reboundThere also is a growing role of regionalism as well as a softer globalization with some localization. The audience overwhelmingly selected a softer globalization with localized supply chains. This is consistent with our own research that sees a combination of localized production, especially to overcome concentration risks and for greater autonomy, as well as continued, but strategic, global supply chains that will be much more influenced by government policies and relationships than was previously the case. 

Question 2: How many suppliers are in the global supply chain ecosystem of an average global brand?

When discussing supply chain complexity, the focus is often on the opaqueness of the supply chain, or on the hyper-specialization. Both directly contribute to supply chain complexity, but the sheer volume of suppliers is often underestimated.

Our second poll question sought to assess common perceptions about the size of a global brand’s supply chain ecosystem. Over half of respondents estimated the number in the thousands, which certainly would result in overly complex ecosystems. The actual number is closer to tens of thousands, and in some cases, hundreds of thousands. Given this sheer size, it is no wonder greater transparency is needed, which in turn requires intuitive human-computer interaction to help make sense of this complexity. 

Question 3: How do you expect the supply chain strategy of your company to evolve?

After discussing the evolution of global supply chains, and the unprecedented nature of COVID-19’s economic and public health shock, we addressed the steps enterprises are taking to address the ongoing transformations. Over half of respondents selected increasing resilience as their top strategy shift in preparation of the new normal. Reducing dependency on China came in second.

As part of concentration risk, this shift also reflects a focus on greater resiliency, and is a leading topic among companies as they explore decoupling. Resiliency may well be the defining feature of the year given the widespread and profound disruptions, as organizations and individuals prepare for ongoing and future shocks.

Learn More about Preparing for New Normal

These survey questions are a great way to interact with the audience and uncover insights from the field that impact shifting supply chain strategies. If you’d like to watch the entire discussion, you can access the webinar here, or read our related white paper here.

 

Dr. Andrea Little Limbago is a computational social scientist specializing in the intersection of technology, national security, and society. As the Vice President of Research and Analysis at Interos, Andrea leads the company’s research and analytic work regarding global supply chain risk with a focus on governance, cyber, economic, and geopolitical factors. She also oversees community engagement and research partnerships with universities and think tanks and is a frequent contributor to program committees and mentorship and career coaching programs. She has presented extensively at a range of academic, government, and industry conferences such as RSA, SOCOM’s Global Synch, BSidesLV, SXSW, and Enigma. Her writing has been featured in numerous outlets, including Politico, the Hill, Business Insider, War on the Rocks, and Forbes. Andrea is also a Senior Fellow and Program Director for the Cyber and Emerging Technologies Law and Policy Program at the National Security Institute at George Mason and a Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s GeoTech Center. She is an industry advisory board member for the data science program at George Washington University, and is a board member for the Washington, DC chapter of Women in Security and Privacy (WISP). She previously was the Chief Social Scientist at Virtru and Endgame. Prior to that, Andrea taught in academia and was a technical lead at the Joint Warfare Analysis Center, where she earned the Command’s top award for technical excellence. Andrea earned a PhD in Political Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a BA from Bowdoin College.

Advancing Women in Tech and America into the Stars with Renee Wynn

 

Episode 8: Advancing Women in Tech and America Into the Stars

Diversity, inclusion, engagement.

Tune into this episode to hear Jennifer chat with Renee Wynn, the former CIO of NASA and the former deputy CIO of the EPA. They discuss the need for diversity in tech, particularly gender diversity, and the recent uptick in space activity that’s fueling American’s imaginations.

During her time at NASA, Renee worked to transform their approach to cybersecurity and IT procurement, efforts that helped dramatically raise the agency’s compliance ratings.

What we talked about:

-Diversity in the Workplace Fueling Innovation

-The ever-changing role for Women in Tech Leadership

-Paving the way for women in STEM

NASA’s approach to supply chain risk management during COVID-19

For more risk and tier business conversations, subscribe to What Lies Beneath? on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Listen & Subscribe!

To learn more, check out the podcast on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. If you like what you hear, please rate and review the show, or share it with a friend! New episodes air every other Tuesday.

To learn more about Interos, visit Interos.ai.

Duty-of-Care and Resilience in Times of COVID

Through social distancing and a distributed workforce, we lack physical interactions, face-to-face conversations, and chance encounters. And yet we are suddenly closer as well.  We constantly learn more about our colleagues than ever before: kids or pets wander into the rooms, spouses, partners, or roommates are now actual people and not just first names, and their home décor in the background gives us insight into their home life. As the distributed workforce persists, the lines between our personal and professional lives blur.

We take steps to encourage the separation of the two to avoid burnout and support mental health. But with the lack of in-person encounters, it is much more difficult gauge the general well-being of our team members. Are their stress-levels within an acceptable range? How are they coping with such uncertainty and isolation? While there is no fool-proof approach, the notion of ‘duty of care’ serves as our guiding principal. We’ll explore this concept, how we implement it, and its growing importance in maintaining the human connections and building resilience while apart. 

The Concept of Duty of Care

Duty of Care is a 19th century common law principle to refrain from harming another person or causing loss, and became applied to the workplace and employers during the Industrial Revolution. Today, these same principles are reflected in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA), which requires every employer to create a place of employment that is free from hazards that may cause serious harm or  death to its employees. The level of responsibility is customized based on the nature of the work: a software company’s responsibilities are different from a hospital, a restaurant, a grocery store or a humanitarian assistance organization.

Still, the principle remains: every company has a duty to prevent, plan and communicate. During any pandemic or epidemic, the employer needs to take steps to mitigate risk to its employees, plan for a potential outbreak, and communicate with its employees during the events. If all these key activities are in place and the company is doing its best to mitigate risk, including planning for potential impacts and a timely and effective communications to its employees, then it is more likely that the company is fulfilling its obligations under the Duty of Care requirements.

Duty of Care while Working from Home?

But what happens when the majority of the workforce is at home with the potential to encounter a range of hazards? A Clockwise study indicated that workers are working longer hours, meeting more, having less time to focus and less time out of office. In addition, our colleagues have additional responsibilities at home that they did not have before. We have become teachers, entertainers, cooks, and full-time caregivers.

The added responsibilities and separation from a broader community, coupled with less time to ourselves and the stress of an ongoing pandemic and economic uncertainty, combine to decrease resiliency and increase exposure to a range of risks. For instance, domestic violence is on the rise globally as individuals shelter-in-place with their abuser.  In a brief focused on COVID-19 and its effects on domestic violence, the Council on Foreign Relations concludes that for “domestic violence victims—the vast majority of whom are women, children, and LGBTQ+ individuals—home is a dangerous place.”

With the enormous pivot to work from home in March, the technology and cyber considerations have dominated headlines. But what about the human element of this massive transition? With work from home a new, permanent reality for some companies, how does Duty of Care now apply? Does it extend into employees’ homes?

 Taking Care while Far Away

At the workplace, leaders and talent professionals generally interact and engage with people daily or weekly.  It is easier to ascertain if someone is struggling; body language, facial expressions, spoken choice of words, all can offer clues about the individual and their stress level and resilience to stressors at work. Remote work creates barriers to this level of visibility.

The importance of daily personal check-ins becomes more obvious. The simple question “how are you doing?”, followed by a pause to allow for a real response rather than a “fine” or “good” is a door opener to deeper conversations. Importantly, focus on quality over quantity, as authenticity is crucial. Frequent check-ins will be ineffective if they are perceived as simply checking the box and lack personalization. Acknowledging the difficulties that coincide with this uncertain time is important instead of pretending they don’t exist. At the same time, we also encourage sharing positive stories to provide some optimism during uncertain times, which can positively impact morale. We do this both through semi-weekly meetings as well as sharing good news from across the supply chain industry.

Creating deliberate downtime is another option to reduce stress. Leaders must create time periods where there is a slowdown in work, and a separation from the onslaught of alerts from email, messaging apps, phone calls, and decreasing pressure for an immediate response. Flexible work hours are useful to accommodate the range of new responsibilities and work habits, but they also can be abused to support an always on-the-job environment. This is where leadership or corporate policies are essential to help develop on and off-time schedules.

Leaders also need to be prepared to offer a solution to the full range of duty of care and health and wellness considerations. Solutions could be as simple as listening or helping remove the barriers with which the individual is struggling. Leaders need to ensure a range of external resources are readily available and transparent for employees. An Employee Assistance Program can help employees speak to a professional counselor, including  sharing available resources offered by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation’s largest mental health organization, or Tools for Mental Wellness. To highlight the prioritization of health and wellness, any weekly or monthly corporate updates can include recommendations or Daily Tips to do things to protect mental health, and improve the resilience and wellness of the entire team.

We need to place the interest of the individual team members first when it comes to their health and well-being. This is common sense. Even though we are interacting less during this time, and actually because we are interacting less, we must pay even greater attention to supporting the mental health and wellness of employees. At Interos, the employer’s obligation is not just a legal one but a moral one.

To learn more about Interos and our commitment to our employees, visit our careers page.

Supply Chain Standouts: June 12th

We are starting this week’s shoutouts with a focus on global ingenuity. During the COVID-19 lockdown in Ghana, two brothers turned a recycled metal barrel into a solar-powered handwashing basin. Created in five days, the basin runs on a 25 second timer to ensure handwashing duration meets CDC guidelines. The government has contacted the brothers to explore manufacturing additional machines.

In Afghanistan, members of the Afghan Dreamers robotics team transformed car parts into ventilators. Inhabitants of Herat, the city where Afghanistan’s first COVID-19 cases appeared, the 14 and 17 year old girls produced a prototype using a motor from a Toyota Corolla and a chain drive from a Honda motorcycle. Compared to  the global price of ventilators which exceeds $30,000 (and are still in short supply) these innovators plan on selling their ventilators for a mere $600 once they complete hospital testing.

The manufacturing industry continues to demonstrate ingenuity as well, as manufacturers across the globe continue to pivot their production to support front-line workers. In Massachusetts, dozens of manufacturers have switched production to PPE.  For some of these organizaitons, such as Universal Plastics who were already in the medical business, the pivot was not so huge. For others, it was much more dramatic. Lovepop switched from making 3-D greeting cards to face shields virtually overnight. Meanwhile, MIT engineers developed a new ventilator system to help support multiple patients at once and could help hospitals more efficiently meet the demand.

Medical masks continue to be in short supply, a shortage that is only exacerbated by the fact that medical masks can only be used once. Elastomeric respirators – reusable silicon masks that have drawn comparisons to Darth Vader due to their appearance – have proven an effective and life-saving solution. One CDC researcher noted these masks “could substantially reduce the supply-demand gap.”

Finally, the significance and fragility of global supply chains has become a dinner table conversation due to the disruptions throughout the ongoing pandemic. At the consumer level, what began with runs on toilet paper, hand soap and sanitizer has slowly evolved as the pandemic persisted. Back in April, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said we had entered the hair color stage of quarantine purchasing spikes. The next hot commodity was Plexiglass as stores raced to reopen while maintaining worker and customer safety. Apparently, we are now entering the golf pushcart phase – and according to this piece, the “the U.S. has no strategic pushcart reserve.”

What might be the next hot commodity? Share your predictions with us on Twitter @InterosInc or on LinkedIn! 

A Tale of Two Worlds: Possible Futures in the COVID Recovery

COVID-19 has exposed significant global supply chain fragility, leading to another wave of predictions on the death of globalizationRising economic nationalism is prompting some governments to reassess self-sufficiency and turn inward. Growing income inequalities and corruption have sparked social instability across the globe. Complex, insecure, and opaque global supply chains masked underlying distribution vulnerabilities, including an extreme dependency on China.  

Globalization was already strained prior to the pandemic; now those weaknesses are exacerbated. COVID-19 is a significant disruption, pushing organizationsgovernments and societies away from pre-pandemic globalization and toward one of two competing paradigms: a democratic techno-utopia or an authoritarian techno-dystopia. These two distinct futures reflect extremes and are unlikely to wholly manifest one way or the other; instead aspects of each will co-exist for the foreseeable future.  

These disparate futures contain a range of risk factors from protecting intellectual property and cyber risk to environmental toxicity and governanceThese factors should be top of mind as enterprises reassess their global footprint and dependencies, and subsequent third-party risk management strategies. 

In the techno-dystopiaauthoritarian surveillance states, opacity, insecurity, and rigidity define the future, while the democratic and free societies on the opposite end of the spectrum embody the transparency, security, and agility required for resiliency in a post-pandemic world.  

COVID-19 has prompted a complete rethinking of political, economic, and social systems. It also must be a wake-up call. Any risk assessments must account for these growing and divergent futures, as decisions made today will either establish the foundation for the aspirational future or lead toward an even more vulnerable and fragile one  

Behind Door #1: Techno-Dystopia 

Entrenched authoritarian regimes redefine globalization in their image, fueled by emerging technologies and opaque economic and political systems. This future is largely isolated with limited cooperation contingent upon smaller powers tolerance of predatory behavior by dominant powers

Unfortunately, the proliferation of digital authoritarianism is no longer unique to authoritarian regimes, with aspects of it spreading to weak and even entrenched democracies. Exploring the hallmarks of the techno-dystopian model through a multi-factor risk lens highlights how this future already exists in various forms across the globe.  

  • Geopolitics – Corruption and suppression of information compliment the lack of rule of law and disregard for property rights, controlled economy, including minimal to non-existent patent protections and expropriation at the whims of the government, predatory trade and dependencies. 
  • Cyber – Digital data theft, manipulation, disinformation, censorship, and surveillance, with an ever-growing target set and tools and tactics for data exfiltration and disruption, as well as national internets under government control. 
  • Financial – Money laundering, blackmail, predatory lending and economics, underground economies, and bribery. 
  • Operations – A disregard for labor safety conditions and mismanaged or government-controlled physical infrastructureno development of local workforce, and little regard for global regulations or compliance that have been supplanted with lackluster state-run mandates. 
  • Governance – Unethical sourcing, environmental and climate disregard, human rights violations, toxic workplace environments, state-owned enterprises acting on behalf of governments.  

 

Behind Door #2: Techno-Utopia  

Backed by the mission to correct the flaws in globalization and create a more equitable, resilient, and diversified global system, aspirational government and enterprise leaders emerge to counter the rise of the digital authoritarian model.

In this view, globalization is down but not out, and cooperation and coordination underpin the path to resiliency with like-minded entities. Democratic governments are the most prone to crafting this futurebut with democracy on the decline for over a decade it is in dire need of a renaissanceUnlike digital authoritarianism, there has yet to be leadership and well-defined digital democracies to serve as a counterweight. Nevertheless, there are green shoots of democratic resiliency with some of the characteristics listed below.  

  • Geopolitics – Strong adherence to the rule of law, open economy, protected freedom of information and the press so innovation can thrive and is secured, collaborative trade agreements and flows. 
  • Cyber – Mutually agreed upon digital norms guide online activity, privacy and security are balanced with resiliency against cyber attacks and disinformation, global connectivity supports global flows of information and free expression of ideas. 
  • Financial – An absence of underground and shadow economies, while rule of law renders bribery and money laundering virtually non-existent. 
  • Operations – Protections ensure a healthy and safe workforce, focus on local workforce development, while technology promotes greater productivity and efficiency and not government suppression. 
  • Governance – Environmental and social governance builds resiliency against and minimizes environmental, health, and social disruptions.  

 

Behind Door #3: Choose your own future 

Of course, no single society or economy personifies all the criteria in either of these futures. They are basically a straw man framing of two extreme notions of the future – perhaps most usefully described as Blade Runner versus Star Trek. Which futures comes next depends on the decisions made today by governments and organizations. 

From health data to exploring near-shoring, reshoring and onshoring options to addressing climate change, the choices made now determine which governments, enterprises, and societies progress toward the aspirational techno-utopia, and which may fall down the dystopian path. 

COVID-19 must be viewed as a wake-up callPre-pandemic globalization and Chinese-dependent supply chains are coming to an end. Global restructuring was underway prior to the pandemic, but it has significantly accelerated as public and private sector leaders completely reassess their dependencies, vulnerabilities, and visibility across their entire corporate supply chain ecosystem. 

We are entering a reglobalization of the world without any precedence in the modern era. Whatever new normal awaits, a much more holistic framing of risk must account for this emerging new world order, and the disparate futures contained within it.  A growing patchwork of futures will coexist, determined by decisions made today. Rethinking agility, transparency, and security will be core to resiliency, building back better, and thriving in a reglobalized world system.  

To learn more about building resiliency in the recovery from COVID-19 read this whitepaper or visit interosai.kinsta.cloud. 

The Defense Supply Chain & COVID-19 with Bob Metzger

 

Episode 7: The Defense Supply Chain & COVID-19 with Bob Metzger

Most of us think we’re prepared.

But if COVID-19 has done anything — and it’s already done a lot — it’s exposed the extent to which our fragile supply chains rely on subjective information and fallible processes.

In this episode, we interview Bob Metzger, head of the D.C. office of Rogers Joseph O’Donnell, PC, about how COVID-19 changed the defense supply chain and what the future holds for regulations like CMMC.

Bob is an expert on contract awards, national security matters, and regulatory and compliance issues. He also co-authored MITRE’s 2018 Deliver Uncompromised report, and the Defense Science Board’s Cyber Supply Study.

In this episode we discuss:

– COVID-19 has been a powerful wakeup call regarding the federal supply chain oversight

– Information matters more than ever when it comes to changes in globalization from COVID-19

– Automation and the future of supply chain management — it’s all going digital

Listen & Subscribe!

To learn more, check out the podcast on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. If you like what you hear, please rate and review the show, or share it with a friend! New episodes air every other Tuesday.

To learn more about Interos, visit Interos.ai.

Building Communities in Times of Isolation

 COVID19 has turned “social distancing” and “working from home” into household phrases.

This pandemic has changed millions of lives, relationships, and individual engagements. It has also significantly changed workplace interactions. In 2018, only 3% of the workforce worked remotely over half the time. Compare that to today, where three quarters of organizations have 75% of their workforce working remotely the majority of their time, and that number is expected to rise.

As economies reopen, it is increasingly clear that a distributed workforce is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Companies are staggering days in the office and ensuring there are fewer people in the same area to help safeguard the safety of their employees. This raises several core challenges: how can companies retain engagement during times of social isolation and increasing unrest? How does one build rapport with other colleagues? Develop trust? Establish a common culture?

Resilient companies emerge during crises. Leaders that foster a distinct culture of caring and support for their team members create a sense of community that is especially important during challenging times.  At Interos, our culture and community building remain an imperative component of our pandemic planning and our response to growing unease. Although community engagement is now more difficult, it is still not only possible but is imperative to overcome the inevitable feelings of isolation during the pandemic.

The Importance of Community

As companies transformed into distributed workplaces, individuals simultaneously lost both workplace and personal interactions. The Great Lockdown has disrupted communities, both within the workplace, as well as professional and personal communities.  Many of us are part of professional societies, presented on in-person panels and attended conferences, and cultivated a persona in groups with common goals and mission. Now, we are meeting on-line, connecting via WhatsApp, Skype and other technologies that allow for moments of connectivity.

Unfortunately, technology alone can’t solve the problem. From “Zoom fatigue” to longer workdays and more time spent in meetings, the human element is too often missing from pandemic response plans. Daniel Coyle summarizes this best by noting, “One misconception about highly successful cultures is that they are happy, lighthearted places. This is mostly not the case. They are energized and engaged, but at their core their members are oriented less around achieving happiness than around solving hard problems together.”

Resilient communities that solve hard problems together also build collaborative environments and effectively battle isolation. Friendships and social interactions are fundamental to well-being, but it often requires leadership to purposefully build a workplace culture that encourages these interactions and community building. To help foster engagement and human connectivity, some civic-minded cities are having community-engagement events and giving out grants to those entities fostering community during a time of isolation. At Interos, building and maintaining a sense of community have been foundational to our culture. COVID-19 has only further entrenched this commitment, while sparking some creativity as well.

Social Distancing not Social Isolation

As an extremely fast-growing company, our team continues to expand quickly during the pandemic. Many of our newly hired colleagues have never met other team members in person and have never physically attended an all-hands meeting or joined a company lunch. Leaders who were hired to guide their teams to success did not meet their team members in person before they were forced to work remotely.

Community is more important than ever, and there was no choice but to successfully create a collaborative — yet virtual — community for our workforce to counteract the lack of in-person relationship building and growing national stress. We built our internal community slowly and with care knowing that it is a starting point, a work-in-progress that will go through multiple iterations. Just as our business is to analyze and surface business relationships and look for risk across a range of factors, we placed a similar degree of focus on building and protecting the connectivity between employees and their communities, while keeping an eye out to mitigate challenges and risks that inevitably arise.

Culture is not just about having fun and enjoying each other’s company but about working through the challenges together and going through these challenging times while remaining resilient. To combat isolation and try to alleviate the sense of frustration and helplessness many are feeling during these turbulent times, we have virtual happy hours that integrate families and pets, book club discussions and paint nights. These create valuable non-work shared experiences and pave the way for meaningful dialogues amongst our teams on important issues.

We also are sharing and attending together virtual events from our own disciplines – such as data science for supply chains and women in tech conferences.

Importantly, all of this additional screen time is ‘opt in’. But they are also accompanied with semi-weekly leadership updates, technology briefings, and manager check-ins for our well-being. Leadership roundtables share ideas on what to do to take care of each other, our teams, and how to move the company through this “new normal.” We also have allocated resources to ensure our employees have the technology to succeed. Stipends to help with internet connectivity or a second monitor are a few examples of how we can further support our team.

For each of us, our professional communities are also extremely important and we highly recommend connecting with industry groups external to your company. Whether it is happy hours with colleagues that we used to see at conferences, or joining virtual meetups and expert discussions, there are endless opportunities to remain engaged in your industry and continue to develop professionally while building a community.

Of course, we all look forward to in-person, human connections. We might even be a little bit excited to return to the office. But until then, community building and engagement are fundamental to offset the sense of isolation that inevitably emerges during such a challenging time. With some creativity and a human touch, we can get through this time together and stronger than ever.

To learn more about Interos and our commitment to our employees, visit our careers page.

Supply Chain Standouts: June 5th

COVID-19 exposed the fragility of global supply chains. For this week’s standouts, we’d like to celebrate those innovators leveraging technology to tackle many of the distribution and resiliency challenges across global supply chains.  

Recognized as one of the most innovative executives in the trucking industry, Sudu co-founder and CEO Amari Ruff and his company are disrupting the $800 billion trucking industry. With the help of big data analytics, Sudu helps optimize global logistics management, saving time, money, and minimizing carbon footprints. They also help connect small businesses, minority and women-owned companies with the larger shippers and carriers so both can benefit. 

Speaking of reducing the carbon footprint, at Goodrfounder and CEO Jasmine Crowe has helped pu2 million pounds of food on people’s plates that was previously headed for landfills. Goodr’s motto “Feed More, Waste Less” becomes reality thanks to their technology, which provides real-time analytics to track and manage surplus food, while also helping suppliers reap tax savings, support local communities, and protect the environment. 

Moving from solving food waste to protecting against waste and fraud, Sproxil leverages technology to help companies defend against counterfeit goods within their supply chain. Founder and CEO, Ashifi Gogo, started the company intent on tackling the significant financial and public health costs of counterfeit drugs. You can hear his Ted Talk here. 

Technology also helps one of the largest global shipping companies optimize efficiency, timely delivery, and staffing requirements. FedEx CEO, Ramona Hood, has expertise across operations, safety, sourcing, sales, and marketing, and stresses the role of technology in syncing volume volatility with staffing needs. 

Finally, the launch of the history-making SpaceX Crew Dragon is a tremendous example of private-public partnerships and innovation.

With previous standout focusing on sports, it seemed appropriate to finish this week with a standout that connects the themes of both weeks. Did you know NASA extern, Josh Dobbsis also the quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars? This real-life rocket scientist, who innovates on the field and in space, notes, “We’re on the cusp of changing the projection of space exploration. It’s exciting. It truly is exciting.” While this history-making launch does not address the injustices in the world, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine acknowledged, “Times are tough right now. We’ve got the coronavirus pandemic, we have other challenges in the country. But I hope this moment in time is an opportunity for everybody to reflect on humanity and what we can do when we work together, when we strive and when we achieve.” 

Do you have a favorite story of supply chain innovation, community, and resilience?  Be sure to share them with us on Twitter @InterosInc or on LinkedIn!