Grant Sackett

" Supply Chain Manager"

Apr 13, 2022

Using Predictive Models for Supply Chain Planning with Grant Sackett

“What solutions are you putting in place to keep your supply chain agile? With buying natural products, we rely on crops and if there’s a drought in an area or locusts or something that affects the harvest, you have to predict it. Not only do I have a partnership with my suppliers, I have to have a very close partnership with my sales team.

Knowing what their customers are actually going to need and getting my resources in time is very important. Sometimes it means pulling in supply earlier than I typically would have, because if I wait too long, it won’t be available. Adjusting my forecasting as much as I can, communicating with my suppliers, working closely with the sales team while making sure that they’re getting the answers we need from our customers is key to our success.”-Grant Sackett, Supply Chain Manager, D.D. Williamson Colors

Full Transcript

Francis Adanza

Hello, everybody. Welcome to the Down to Freight podcast. And with me today, I’m speaking with Grant Sackett, North American Supply Chain Manager for D.D. Williamson Colour. Grant, thanks for being on the show today.

Grant Sackett

It’s a pleasure. I’m excited to do this.

Francis Adanza

Likewise. Well, just so everyone can get a sense of who you are and your background, could you please introduce yourself and your company?

Grant Sackett

Yes, I am the North American Supply Chain Manager for D.D. Williamson Colours. We are a natural food coloring company. We’re based in Louisville, Kentucky, and we’re over 150 years old actually started [inaudible 0:01:12] year ago as the War ended in 1865. And the kind of the malt industry for beers was studied by an immigrant. His name is Douw Ditmars Williamson, that’s where the name comes from. And they relocated to Louisville, I believe, in the 1930s or so. And they [inaudible 0:01:25] they’re big in the Carmel industry. And then in 2005, they bought our branch in Port Washington, Wisconsin where I’m located and gotten to the natural colors industry as well.

So I’ve been with the company for little over 10 years. I started in operations and then warehousing. And I’ve been in supply for about five years now with them, then expanded my role from Port Washington to also covering our Louisville branches. And we are a global company. We have 12 plants around the world, and always continuing to grow, it seems like it.

Francis Adanza

Wow, that was an impressive background. Thank you for sharing that. So well here on the Down to Freight, we’d like to talk about problems that arise in the supply chain around technology, change management. What was the problem that you were wrestling with, or the story that you’d like to share with us today?

Grant Sackett

As we’ve come out of 2020, everyone knows with the pandemic, but there are always issues that are global, that when you watch nightly news, they affect you in this career, things such as political unrest in a country, especially when we’re buying globally and domestically with elections going on here and with the changing of presidencies and rules around that. Weather is a huge thing. Just with the pandemic with tightness of transportation with countries, entire countries pulling down, [inaudible 0:02:49] in India who closed their borders for a month and nothing’s allowed in and out. So all of that affects the way we can do our job and the decisions we have to make.

Francis Adanza

Yeah, definitely. Like these things are unforeseen and definitely impossible to predict. So how did you handle situations like this previously?

Grant Sackett

Even though I’ve been on this for five years, it’s- I still feel green and I have a great [inaudible 0:03:15] located at in Cork, Ireland. And I considered an expert in a lot of the fields and I have pulled on his ear quite a few times. But we’re learning as we go here. Obviously, a pandemic is new, but the weather and certain things you kind of learn to mitigate. You deal with [inaudible 0:03:33] his true colors to us. So who is good with communication with you, who is willing to work with you on things and the ones that didn’t help you out as much, and you might need to look to replace. So it shows their colors too. And who’s going to help build the strength of our company as we continue to grow and who we might have to leave by the wayside.

Francis Adanza

Because the supply chain really is a partnership, so you’re looking for those that are invested in your success just like you’re invested in theirs.

Grant Sackett

That’s correct.

Francis Adanza

Hopefully we don’t have another pandemic for another 100 years but between the politics and the weather and everything that happens in between them, what are some of the solutions that you are putting in place to be more agile moving forward?

Grant Sackett

Yes, there’s always paying attention to the news and then keeping up on things. There’s Brexit, there was things along those lines, keeping an eye on those. But you have to- it’s almost plan for the unplanned.  And I find myself with the tightness on transportation with a tightness availability. With buying natural products, we rely on crops and you have to- if there’s a drought in an area, or locusts or something that affects the harvest, You have to keep an eye on things. And you have to predict, you know, and it’s not only a partnership with my suppliers, I have a very close partnership with my salesman, knowing what their customers are actually going to need, and getting my resources in line.

And sometimes it means pulling in supply earlier than I typically would have. Because if I wait too long, it won’t be available. That ties up our capital, but it also means that we’re going to keep the customer in the long run. So that’s the end game for us is more important than short-term capital loss. So adjusting my forecasting as much as I can, communicating with my suppliers and working closely with the salesman, and making sure that they’re getting the answers we need from our customers and expressing to them and stressing to them the importance of a forecasting tool.

Francis Adanza

Awesome. So as you go about the new forecasting initiative and planning, what are some of like the KPIs that you would measure the before and after, and that impact on the business?

Grant Sackett

We keep an eye on- we started- we call it cases. And so if a supplier- if we’re having problems that I would say are within their control, we keep track of that. And it’s a quality issue or it’s the delay in production, and things along those lines that help us keep a metric on who is holding up their end of the deal. And obviously, we have- everybody has unforeseen things or if you’re in the industry, there’s going to be a problem here and there. And it’s how they mitigated through it and got through that with us and everything that kind of keeps track. So it isn’t just a numbers game, of course ,we hear it [inaudible 0:6:48] right then, or freight was going to be this much, but it [bumped? 0:06:52] up to that much. It isn’t always that, it’s also a personal feel on who worked with you.

Francis Adanza

Great, thank you for sharing that. I greatly appreciate it. So it seems like you have your work cut out for you in the near term. But as you look beyond this planning and forecasting, what’s next for you in DDW?

Grant Sackett

[inaudible 0:07:15] even though I’ve been in this for five years, I can still consider myself green. I would like clears and things start opening up more, be more boots on the ground with my suppliers and getting to visit them. I visited quite a few of the domestic ones. I go to trade shows and talk to them, but actually getting to more of our international suppliers and becoming more of an expert in certain areas.

As we become larger and our roles increase and everything like that, a little more diversification in the areas we cover. It’s very important that if we want to keep up to the ever-changing demands of this food market with global, organic and non-GMO that we need to keep educating ourselves. It will never stop for D.D. Williamson, that’s for sure.

Francis Adanza

Awesome. Thank you for being on the show and sharing your insights

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