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The Supply Chain Answers You Crave with Anthony LaGrasso of Levain Bakery

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

“Throughout my career, I’ve been told, ‘Here’s a million or billion-dollar brand. Don’t break it.’ And this gave me the opportunity of, ‘Hey, let’s build something here. Let’s do it from the ground up and see where it goes.’”

The phrase “supply chain issues” has become a bit of a punchline, but very few people seem to know the real story of what’s going on behind the scenes. Anthony LaGrasso is one of them. As a veteran in the world of supply chain and in his current role as VP of Supply Chain at Levain Bakery, Anthony has had an insider's view of what’s going on… and what innovations are needed to get ahead. Hear all about it on Up Next in Commerce.

Creating backup plans

In the world of supply chain, you need to be prepared. But you never know exactly what you have to prepare for, so you have to be thinking about all scenarios, plan ahead, and try to future-proof your supply chain in any way you can. This starts at a broad level, but can get more and more granular.

“The one thing that we do and what my team does constantly, is we have resiliency plans for everything. So we have a backup to the backup, to the backup,”

How to find the right supplier partners.

Finding the right suppliers is all about finding a partner with the same values. You need to connect on the highest level otherwise the partnership is built on an unsteady foundation.

“We always value values as number one. How do we connect with them? What are they doing from a sustainability standpoint? What are they doing from a labor standpoint?… So making sure that the supplier we’re working with doesn’t utilize child labor. making sure that we go through and review all of their practices, making sure that they have a path for non-GMO, making sure that they have a robust pipeline.Those are really the keys and then we’ll work out costs later. And as we grow and we scale, inherently we’ll get some better costs, but making sure that we have that connection and we can grow responsibly is key.”

Can you innovate within the supply chain?

There are always opportunities to innovate and experiment, or to make bold moves to try to sure up your supply chain. But according to LaGrasso, most of the innovation that happens is all about finding ways to simply make your labor and processes more efficient.

“The culture at Levain is, ‘Hey, let’s figure out how we can do something great that we can bring to our customers.’ So I always think about it that way and I’m like, ‘Okay, how can I make our experience even better? How can I make us as efficient as possible?’ Especially in the crunch with inflation, you need to be as efficient as possible with labor that sometimes doesn’t come to the office or with just the amount of manual touches that you have with something. We try to innovate as much as possible. We try to get as much machinery as possible to help our teams — not to eliminate labor, but to help them do their jobs more efficiently.”

Up Next in Commerce is brought to you by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Learn more at http://www.salesforce.com/commerce

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