At Supply Chain Game Changer we believe in sharing experiences and expertise from people in every industry and from across the globe. As such we have introduced our “Seasoned Leadership in Action™” Interview series at Supply Chain Game Changer. This interview is with Glen Munholland, President of Circular Supply Chains.
I receive many calls and emails here at Supply Chain Game Changer. Recently I received a message from Glen Munholland. Glen was excited to talk about his new system at Circular Supply Chains and tell me that all of the principles I wrote about in “From Click to Ship in 4 Minutes! Ultimate Principles for World Class Fulfillment” were incorporated in his new system design.
My article was based on real life experience in the development of an industry leading fulfillment system. All of the principles are time tested and sustainable and applicable in most any situation. It was great to hear about Glen’s experience and endeavours to improve the Circular economy and Supply Chains with his thoroughly intellectualized solution.
Here is my interview with a great thought leader, Glen Munholland, President at Circular Supply Chains.
1. Tell our readers a little about your background and experience
I’m an accountant with an engineering background and my company handled reverse logistics for Walmart for fifteen years. It’s from that experience that I have embarked on the project that I’m working on now called the Cargo Carousel System.
As an accountant I focused on ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) installations which often take 18-24 months to complete but gives you an excellent perspective on business networks and the processes and resources required to manage them efficiently. This same background helped me to establish my own company to be able to work with Walmart and their supplier network.
That experience with Walmart created the opportunity to learn more about their systems and processes and what worked for them and what didn’t work so well. I was stunned at the inefficiency of some areas of the supply and reverse chains which is why I decided to start another company, Circular Supply Chains, to develop a completely new system.
It can eliminate 90% of the aisles in a warehouse, eliminate empty backhauls and partial loads, eliminate the need for loading docks and create multiple fulfilment formats for buy-online-pickup-in-store, drone delivery and last-mile including lockers. You can learn more about our new system at www.circularsupplychains.com
2. What are some of your greatest achievements in Business?
My experience as an accountant with an ERP background gave me the knowledge required to undertake my own enterprises and I’ve owned several over the years.
I started one company called Liquidators Clearinghouse that retailed secondary market merchandise in a 54,000 square foot layout. If this merchandise didn’t sell in the first week that we bought it I would auction it off at the end of the week under the same roof. We grossed $50,000 our first day with only 13 staff members and it was a great experience but the model wasn’t sustainable.
It fit in well when I was working with Walmart because I opened my doors directly across the street from their Western DC in Calgary to limit shipping costs and it gave me easy access to their facilities but I ended up shutting it down and then wholesaled everything directly from the manifests and drop-shipped everything directly from the distribution centers using a local dedicated carrier to lower costs. I ended up grossing the same money without any of the staff or asset base.
3. How has Business and Supply Chain changed over the course of your career?
I was running Liquidators Clearinghouse before ebay even existed and the technology we were using at the time was nowhere near what it is today. Technology has advanced dramatically over the years and continues unimpeded which is why we’re developing the Cargo Carousel System.
I think the timing is right for a complete overhaul of our current supply chains because we haven’t seen a dramatic change since the intermodal steel shipping container became popular and I don’t think we’re utilizing these containers to their fullest capabilities. Our new system is housed inside these steel shipping containers and/or trailers and adds considerable flexibility to any supply or reverse chain. It also acts as a platform for Robotics, AI, IoT, Distributed Ledger Technology, Cloud/Edge, ICT and much more and will level the playing field for brick & mortar retailers in ecommerce fulfilment.
Amazon has dramatically changed the landscape for retailing by developing the ecommerce sector and they’re good at it because it was their business model from the outset. Brick and mortar retailers did not set out to be online retailers and are trying to keep up to Amazon using antiquated systems and processes that were never designed for ecommerce so it’s costing them a lot to adjust.
That’s exactly why we’re developing our new system, to help brick and mortar retailers adjust to the new realities of ecommerce fulfilment. Unfortunately, many of them fail to realize the hidden advantage that they have with brick and mortar stores. Our new system will simply help them to realize that advantage. If you don’t stay on top of technology you’ll eventually disappear.
4. What are some of the lessons you learned in your career that you would like to share for others to learn from?
Integrity and perseverance will take you a long way in the business world. You may get the upper hand in a business deal through unscrupulous methodologies and be pleased with yourself thinking you have somehow “won” but, over time, word gets out and people don’t want to deal with you. Even President Trump brags about “winning” in the Art of the Deal but, in the long run, those short-term gains will be your undoing.
Play fair, be honest and accept the ups and downs of business. Over time you’ll begin to realize that people will reciprocate and will prefer doing business with you over those who sought short-term gains to be achieved at any cost.
5. What challenges facing the world are important to you?
The Circular Economy seems like a rational concept to me and I’m a lead expert for ISO MC/TC-323 on the Circular Economy because it addresses multiple challenges like resource extraction, greenhouse gas emissions, landfill limitations, climate change, etc.
Much of our reason for developing the Cargo Carousel System is its ability to do deliveries and pickups (of recyclable materials) simultaneously. As one of the cubic modules is removed from the Carousel it creates space for another module to take its place. This can eliminate empty backhauls (trucks returning empty after delivery) and partial loads and utilizes existing available space that would go unused otherwise. This can cut greenhouse gas emissions by half while providing the economic benefit of much lower fuel costs.
As they say, “there is no plan B”. If we don’t act on climate change immediately and with meaningful solutions, we may run out of time. Recycling, refurbishing, re-use, these are all great concepts but we have to return this merchandise to its origins to refurbish it and that will double the shipping requirements and the emissions to do any of that.
The Cargo Carousel System allows us to develop a Circular Economy without the added emissions. I’ve attached a study below that outlines the reduction in GHG emissions and the fuel savings available from using our system. The other study I’ve attached was conducted by EARTH University in Costa Rica and indicates that our system can reduce single-use packaging (cardboard boxes, plastic bags, wooden pallets, etc.) by U.S. $188,000,000 annually in their banana sector alone.
The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.
6. What is the role of Business, Supply Chain, and Change Leadership in addressing these challenges?
The Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) sector includes businesses in the supply chain which delivers most of the recyclable goods to society and is partly responsible for many of the challenges we face today. I think it’s that same ICI sector that needs to provide the leadership necessary to start implementing solutions that provide meaningful large-scale reductions in resource waste and emissions.
The public sector may have well-intentioned members but there are no laws that will hold their feet to the fire and force action from all members. The ICI sector, on the other hand, is realizing the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility and how the buying public views their actions and this public scrutiny is forcing them to take action on these challenges.
7. What are you working on these days?
As I mentioned, we’re focused on this Cargo Carousel System at Circular Supply Chains and it’s slowly starting to gain traction. We got accepted into a business accelerator called Founder Institute and they force us out of our comfort zone and give us guidance on our priorities. The Directors are all successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who have successfully exited their companies and are now mentoring new entrepreneurs.
8. What advice would you give to people who have a career in, or who are considering joining, Business and/or Supply Chain?
Be your own person, find your own direction and don’t listen to all the hype. There are so many online “consultants” these days but really, you know what’s best for you better than anyone else. So many entrepreneurs are waiting for the Cavalry to come and save them until they finally realize that they ARE the Cavalry.
9. How can people contact you?
I can be reached at Circular Supply Chains at [email protected]