Podcast: REI on having a core vision for your supply chain strategy

Priyanka talks to Bill Best – DVP Supply Chain at Recreational Equipment Inc, more commonly known as REI

Priyanka talks to Bill Best – DVP Supply Chain at American retail and outdoor sports company REI. It is famously known to keep its doors shut during Black Friday when the rest of the industry is in absolute chaos for holiday deals and sales. REI also regularly features on reputed publications for having a “green supply chain” as well as for being one of the “best places to work”.

Questions Bill answered:

  • Describe briefly what REI does and your role at the company
  • Why do you remain shut for Black Friday and how does that impact sales?
  • How important is it to have a core vision and why?
  • What are the two biggest challenges in supply chain today?
  • What are the two biggest opportunities in supply chain today?
  • Isn’t a sustainable and “green” supply chain good to have but very costly to maintain?
  • How do you define “omnichannel”?
  • What are some of the key changes in the warehouse?
  • How do you make massive technology decisions and what the ROI will be?
  • How do you attract and retain the best talent?



About Bill

Bill’s career began as a logistics service provider and he developed his experiences as a service provider in all disciplines of transportation and contract logistics. Bill transitioned to the customer side of the table when Cisco Systems hired Bill after he implemented 4 DC’s in Asia for them. Contracts, International Trade and developing Manufacturing transformation models continued to round out his experience. Before REI, Microsoft hired Bill to assist with global logistics as they launched the XBOX where his role grew to a Directorship then continuing to build on experiences including Director of Worldwide Logistics Sourcing.

Bill joined REI in December 2012 to lead Supply Chain Technology, Process Improvement, Global Logistics and REI’s Network Expansion strategy. Supply Chain Technology Services supports the integration of Supply Chain and enterprise systems at REI and is often the first point of escalation for DC systems issues. Bill was promoted to Divisional Vice President of Supply Chain Operations in 2014 leading Network Expansion, Distribution Operations and Supply Chain Technology Services. Network Expansion strategy culminated in 2016 with the opening of REI’s newest Net Zero Energy and LEED Platinum distribution center in Goodyear, AZ. Current supply chain focus emphasizes the distribution impacts on customer experience. Evolution of the Omnichannel capabilities are rebalancing online with brick and mortar fulfillment and the urgency of inventory placement. Bill also has a passion for academic development of the next supply chain leaders and sits on both the deans advisory and student advisory boards serving the Western Washington University School of Business and Economics and Manufacturing and Supply Chain degree program.

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