Unfiltered Insights: Navigating the Future of Supply Chain with Jason Tham

In the second episode of Supply Chain Unfiltered, Christine Barnhart is joined by Nulogy Co-Founder and CEO Jason Tham to discuss the evolution of Nulogy and the potential for AI in supply chain.

Christine Barnhart, Chief Marketing & Industry Officer at Nulogy
WRITTEN BY Christine Barnhart

For our second episode of Supply Chain Unfiltered, our new monthly live series produced by Let’s Talk Supply Chain, I had the opportunity to take a deep dive into the world of supply chain innovation with none other than Jason Tham, Co-Founder and CEO of Nulogy.

Working with Jason has been a uniquely enriching experience. I particularly appreciate his ability to take complex supply chain topics and break them down into fun, digestible snippets that everyone can relate to. If you saw his DJ set at Nulogy xChange last year, then know exactly what I’m talking about!

Nulogy CEO Jason tham explains supply chain synchronization

When Jason agreed to join me on Supply Chain Unfiltered, I knew he’d bring his high-energy personality and intelligent insights to the show. The result was a riveting conversation on Nulogy’s genesis, our recent funding announcement and the future of AI in supply chain management. 

An introduction to Jason, Nulogy’s “keeper of the vision”

In all honesty, Jason probably doesn’t need much of an introduction. With more than 20 years of experience in engineering, software development, and business leadership, Jason was recently recognized by Supply & Demand Chain Executive with a 2024 Pros to Know award in the Lifetime Achievement category (his related blog is a must read!). 

There’s a difference, however, between knowing someone professionally and personally but, as Jason and I discussed, maybe it’s time to close the gap. After all, our cumulative experiences and interests shape not only who we are at home, but also how we approach our careers and interpersonal relationships. 

Jason’s story is a really cool example of this, and I love that he was willing to take on the spirit of our show by sharing an unfiltered look into his personal journey. As Jason explained, he’s a family man first and foremost, and many of his fondest memories were made sitting around the dinner table as a kid. I personally would’ve loved a seat at his family’s table because guess what they talked about? Supply chain and artificial intelligence (AI)! 

His father was a teacher who wrote his doctoral thesis on these topics and, whether through osmosis or sheer exposure, Jason can trace his love of supply chain and interest in data back to a very formative time. There was another driving force in Jason’s youth that I love – Star Wars and Star Trek. Between his dad and a passion for sci-fi, Jason began asking really big questions at an early age, such as “Can I make the equivalent of Star Trek’s Data: an intelligent or sensing product for solving problems?” 

It was hypothetical problems like these that led Jason down the path of supply chain later in his career.

Live long and prosper with multi-enterprise collaboration

I couldn’t help but make a nod to Star Trek in the title of this section, but knowing the TV series helped inspire young Jason to eventually co-found Nulogy is a nugget I’m going to treasure. There’s another part of the Nulogy picture, though, and that’s Jason’s hands-on experience as a supply chain practitioner. 

We’re both engineers at heart and have very similar backgrounds. While working on the project management side of the equation in consumer packaged goods, automotive, contract packaging and other industries, we both had an opportunity to see what was working and what wasn’t. Jason recognized that asynchronous data and a lack of visibility was holding companies back, and decided to do something about it. 

Jason, along with Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Wong, put their heads together, and the result was Nulogy, a cloud-based platform that helps companies use multi-enterprise collaboration and synchronization to build strong, agile external supply chain networks. 

Looking toward the supply chain of the future with Nulogy

A lot has changed in supply chain since Nulogy was established in 2002, but Jason and Kevin’s vision? Not so much. In fact, it’s more important than ever for brands, contract manufacturers and packagers and third-party logistics suppliers to be able to work together seamlessly. 

Lora Cecere of Supply Chain Insights shared an interesting fact with me during F4SS – 30% of all manufacturing is outsourced to contract manufacturers. In some industries, that figure can be as high as 70% to 80%

One reason for this, Jason explained, is that companies are focusing on what they do best. It’s not that brands don’t have facilities for production or research and development capabilities; it’s that they specialize in bringing products to market that meet consumer demand and it makes the most sense to work with supply chain network partners to deliver those goods as quickly, efficiently and affordably as possible. To do that effectively, companies need to extend beyond their figurative four walls and the enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems that rule there, to build cohesive multi-enterprise supply chain ecosystems. 

One thing that has changed for Nulogy, shared Jason, is its growth trajectory. Nulogy has largely grown organically through new customer acquisition since 2002, but recently secured funding and the partnership of Rubicon Technology Partners. Jason, and all of us at Nulogy, are very excited about the path ahead, and the opportunity to fast-track our ability to deliver more value to our customers. As Jason explained, Rubicon is the perfect partner because they’re aligned with Nulogy’s vision and understand that the team is all about solving hard problems through  intelligence and AI in the supply chain. 

AI in supply chain: don’t leap before you look

…At least that’s our point of view here at Nulogy. Jason and I agree that the opportunity for AI is boundless – there are just so many problems it could solve – and I’m excited to confirm that we are experimenting with new technologies, but we’re still laser focused on investing in the existing capabilities that empower companies to manage their day-to-day operations. 

As excited as we are about AI, we’re also a little cautious. It remains to be seen how well supply chain systems will translate to large language models that have quite different underpinnings. As Jason pointed out, the foundation for successful AI-based solutions lies in access to clean, timely data. These systems are, after all, only as powerful as the inputs you feed into them, right? 

As we wrapped up our conversation, we dug a little deeper into AI and some of the happenings during F4SS and Pack Expo East, but you’ll have to tune into the full episode to learn more. Click here to do just that.

Can’t get enough of my unfiltered insights? Join me every third Wednesday of the month for a new episode of Supply Chain Unfiltered. On Wednesday, May 15 we will be hosting Scott DeGroot, VP Global Planning and Logistics at Kimberly-Clark – save your seat!

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