MHI Solutions


WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Catching up with MHEFI Scholarship Recipients

Keeping Those Red Pallets Moving Across the Country

Eric Sobanski enjoys a good round of golf but fully expects his clubs to be collecting dust for a while. In addition to his job as senior vice president of operations for MHI member PECO Pallet Inc., he teaches courses in material handling and supply chain logistics to graduate students, helps deliver food to needy kids through a charity he created with his wife and serves on the board of the Material Handling Education Foundation, Inc (MHEFI). And this past fall, he and wife Kristen welcomed their fourth child, Caroline Hope. It’s fair to say that he has a lot going on.

“I’m not going to lie, I am pretty tired,” Sobanski said shortly after the baby arrived in late September.

Sobanski runs PECO Pallet’s operations out of the company’s offices in Itasca, IL, and is charged with making sure its red-painted, high-quality, reusable wood block pallets get to where they’re supposed to be. PECO Pallet has more than 1,600 pallet manufacturing, recovery, sorting and full-service depot locations across North America.

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Exploring Innovative Ways to Use Blockchain Technology

Vishnu P. Tadepalli is front and center in the quest to improve the material handling and supply chain logistics industry through the widespread adoption of blockchain technology. For more than three years, Tadepalli has worked for IBM, first as a senior sourcing consultant delivering sourcing and procurement solutions to clients and later supervising digital and cognitive procurement transformation projects for IBM’s procurement-services clients, which involved exploring ways that artificial intelligence can simplify procurement.

Tadepalli, 30, is now an IBM global program manager for the procurement of blockchain solutions and cognitive process transformation. Essentially, he helps IBM and its procurement-services clients identify areas where blockchain could be useful, prioritize those applications, put blockchain technology into action, evaluate whether blockchain is adding value and then figure out how to commercialize those solutions.

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There is no silver bullet to building a workforce that can thrive in this new digital environment. It takes leadership, collaboration, innovative talent sourcing, continuous training and improvement. This issue of MHI Solutions focuses on this important topic from the technologies driving changing skill sets to industry-academia collaboration to how to hire, retain and develop the digital supply chain workforce.

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