Episode13: How Collaboration Won 2020

By Katherine McCleery | January 11, 2021

Every bit of supply chain has stepped up to the plate in various ways in 2020, according to Sarah Barnes-Humphrey. In this episode of The Sourcing Hero, Sarah shares about the eye-opening collaborations she’s seen in the space. She walks through the huge wins that she’s seen, how her podcast and business has grown, and what she thinks 2021 will bring. 

Sarah is the host of Let’s Talk Supply Chain, with series under it such as Women in Supply Chain and Blended. She is also the founder and CEO of SHIPZ, a bid-and-ship platform for mid-market shippers. Listen as Sarah shares a viewpoint that this podcast doesn’t normally get.

Listening Guide

[2:05] Just who is Sarah Barnes-Humphrey?

[4:10] Something that surprised Sarah in 2020

[8:27] A big win that Sarah saw this year for sourcing

[13:46] How remote teams and supply chain will pan out

[17:45] Big wins for Sarah this year

[23:00] What to expect for supply chain in 2021

[27:04] What “Sourcing Hero” means to Sarah


Collaboration is the future of business.

In procurement, you should always let the data speak for itself. One of the most important lessons Frank has learned over the past 27 years in procurement is to not respond emotionally or with a great deal of passion. You don’t have to show your position. Take a deep breath. Give yourself time to carefully choose your words and then respond accordingly. Make sure that the data collection and analytics are done right, and then let the numbers speak for themselves.

2020 was a tough year—but not without huge wins.

Sarah believes there have been huge wins on the technology front. The pandemic allowed people to take technology that had been on the back burner and bring it to light. It was THE prime time to take a look at processes and data houses. 

Working from home is also a huge win for many businesses. Supply chain and logistics is a very traditional environment. Many companies have been adamantly against people working from home and thought that it would never be feasible. But many leaders haven’t seen productivity levels like they have this year. 

Sarah firmly believes that businesses will not be going back to a 5-day in-office work week. Instead, she sees them looking at hybrid models. This move should allow businesses to become more flexible and more productive.

How remote teams and supply chain will pan out.

Sarah realizes that there are a few functions of supply chain that need to be “in the office” such as the truckers who have kept products on shelves. Warehouse people in distribution facilities have gone to work every single day. What about the seafarers? Some of them have been on those vessels for upward of 18 months without seeing their family. They’re the ones that move 90% of trade globally. These people need to be highlighted. 

The success of working from home depends on what part of the supply chain you’re in. In-person meetings don’t need to be every single day. As a salesperson in supply chain, it’s been a rough year. They’re used to traveling and networking at conferences—and Sarah notes that there’s something magical about that. Will events happen in 2021? With many large brands not allowing their employees to travel, who would go to conferences? How would event insurance work? Will they track who has or hasn’t been vaccinated?

What will 2021 bring to the field?

Sarah believes that supply chain will be highlighted even more in 2021. Why? Because there’s a COVID-19 vaccine that will need to be distributed to 8 billion people around the world. Logistical challenges will include where it’s being manufactured, temperature control for the vaccine itself, and multiple doses of the vaccine. 

She believes that there will be more diversification of suppliers. There will be more talk of manufacturing for local markets over global markets. There may be a hybrid of people and technology being adopted to make processes more efficient. 

How has this year impacted Sarah’s podcast? How has her new Blended series been received? How has her company SHIPZ been faring? Listen to hear her share success stories from 2020.


Host: Katherine McCleery, Director of Marketing

Special Guest: Sarah Barnes-Humphrey

Connect with Sarah on LinkedIn

Let’s Talk Supply Chain Podcast

Women in Supply Chain

Let’s Talk Supply Chain on TikTok


Daniel Stanton on Dr. Oz Show

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