FoSC #53: Dan Covert of Ahold Delhaize

Grocery logistics and distribution

In this episode, we sit down with Dan Covert, Director of Supply Chain R&D at Ahold Delhaize to talk about grocery logistics, distribution, and innovation in the supply chain.

Santosh Sankar  0:00  

Hey folks, welcome back to The Future of Supply Chain podcast. I'm your host Santos Sankar and joining me today from Ahold Delhaize is Dan Kovar. Welcome! 

Dan Covert  0:50  

Thanks, Santosh. Thanks for having me.

Santosh Sankar  0:52  

 Ahold Delhaize is a big name behind a lot of everyday brands that our listeners are likely familiar with. Could you give us the overview of the business so we can level set the playing field here?

Dan Covert  1:06  

Yeah, definitely. It's it's very confusing even even for us to work here, so I'll try my best to explain it. So  Ahold Delhaize is a global company. So we've got a bunch of brands in Europe, Indonesia, and the US. the US parent companie is called  Ahold Delhaize USA. Of that there's five brands that we support. And then there's two service organizations. So people that eat groceries that go to grocery stores that are familiar with food on the East Coast, probably now one of our brands. So we've got in the northeast of Hannaford going south, we've got Stop and Shop which is in sort of the Boston Market, the New York Metro market, a little bit upstate New York and Connecticut, throughout that area. Further south, we've got Giant company, which is based in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, that kind of services a lot of Pennsylvania market. From there, we have Giant Foods headquartered in Landover, Maryland, and then our further south brand is Food Lion which makes up a lot of the southeast. I think in in Tennessee Santosh, you've got probably a Food Lion somewhere nearby. 

Santosh Sankar  2:11  

Oh, yeah. 

Dan Covert  2:12  

Those are the five brands. Then we've got two service organizations. The one that I work for is called Retail Business Services, which isn't isn't the most isn't the flashiest name, but it's got our supply chain group, finance group, IT group so anything that would be a shared service amongst those five brands sits in retail business services. And then we've got a digital eCommerce arm as well. Pea Pod Digital Labs is the seventh component of the US business. All of the confusing PDL does all of our digital eCommerce. Anything home delivery, anything on the internet, where you're interacting with brands, buying groceries online, you can all think PDL for that sale. It's a little bit complicated but hopefully that helps. 

Santosh Sankar  3:05  

How did you get into the world of supply chain grocery logistics?

Dan Covert  3:11  

Yes it's not exactly what everyone thinks they want to be when they grow up. But it's been great for me so far. So I started when I went to undergrad I was a physicist, and I thought that I was going to do something with that. I did some research and avalanche dynamics and snow science thinking. It turns out people don't really want to pay you to do that. So I I saw this offer from  Ahold Delhaize at the time, which was just Hannaford food line brand. And it was first international training program that you got to work for some of the European brands and you got to come back. Get exposed to a bunch of different things. And supply chain seems like the right application for what I had studied so I have a liberal arts degree. I have a Bachelors of Arts in math and physics, which is kind of silly. But they let me use some of those skills, but also get to work with people, which is super important. So that's I think one of the one of the cool things about supply chain, especially food retail supply chain is you're, you're one of the customers of your work. So if you make a wrong forecasting decision, and you're starting to get product because of that, then you're ultimately the end consumer of that. So you might not be able to get the product you need for your family. So I really liked that component of it, just the connectivity to society, I guess. And it's super analytical, which I really like. So that's kind of how I got into it. And then I've really kind of dug my heels into supply chains. And I started six or seven years ago and went back to graduate school for supply chain and, now just like fully, fully in love with the space. It's so dynamic, especially in this time, we're seeing, you know, stuff that we've never seen before and our ability to react and play important role in the communities I think, really critical and a really cool part of this company.

Santosh Sankar  5:05  

And your oversight now in your current role is around supply chain R&D. So what does that entail?

Dan Covert  5:12  

Yeah, so it's kind of an interesting team. So it's a really cool opportunity when I came out of grad school, they're like, we're going to start a supply chain R&D team. We want you to go figure out who should be on the team and then go figure out what you guys should do. This is what you're called to kind of a weird opportunity but a great opportunity to bring in a bunch of different people. I think I have the most diverse team in the company. We got people from Russia, Kazakhstan,'s it's a great team. Really, our focus was was on innovation for supply chain. So innovation, super cliche word nowadays, but it's really helping us plan for the future for what supply chain should be. We've got one of the biggest food retail networks on on the east coast. So trying to figure out what what sort of technology we should use, what our strategy is going to be, how we work with, you know, how you and I met through the startup community, how we work with people like you and through your founders camp. It's all of that it's really propelling our supply chain. The future, a lot of it recently has been supply chain analytics. So we saw that as a huge gap when we're doing a lot of our research is that we don't have really robust analytics. That's where a lot of the, you know, exciting new technology is for supply chain. And it's not necessarily physical technology, but in a new software, new way to think about all the data that we have in our supply chain. So we've been we've been really focused on that for the last six months or so. Standing up a team to support that, working with a lot of a lot of cool startups in that space as well. So that's been a super big priority, but I think it's also really important for my team to stay connected to people like you also to any new technology happening in supply chain. Because there's there's so much innovation happening right now. And it's what we think is our is our mission and in this company is to bring that to our company.

Santosh Sankar  7:07  

Sure. And I'm gonna come back to that theme around innovation and startup engagement. But we'd love to kind of do a grocery logistics one on one. So people understand what we're dealing with here. A lot of folks who have been in our audience and our listener base, to your point, are consumers of the grocery supply chain. They've likely faced kind of stock outs on shelves or longer lead times when they want essential products. But stepping back, how is the grocery supply chain structured at a high level? What should people know about the way food is moved?

Dan Covert  7:45  

Yeah, so it's definitely one of the most interesting supply chains and I think anyone that works in supply chain thinks, you know, a widget is a widget and supply chain fundamentals are kind of the same. When your widgets expire and have to be thrown out after two or three days. It's a little different from, you know how you deal with that. So it's structured kind of like any major supply chain. We work directly with manufacturers, we have many different distribution centers segregated by temperature state, and by movement class. So we might have the need to pick a facility for super slow movers, whereas you might have fast moving facilities for super high velocity products. So, really fundamental on that side. We've got many different distribution centers that deliver directly to our stores. We also work with a lot of local suppliers, and manufacturers to deliver directly to our stores. So many big food suppliers like beer and soda and chips are all delivered DSD, direct store delivery, to our stores. But then we also work with a lot of local produce suppliers and farmers to get fresher product to our stores. It's obviously more efficient to go right from a farm to a store then, you know cross docking through a distribution center or even slotting into distribution center. 

One thing that we do some of that, to all those USA brands is vertical integration. So we've got a couple different vertical integration plants. We have one meat processing facility in Pennsylvania and really what that does is brings in sides of beef and cuts into steaks and shipped out to stores. There are a lot more efficient that way than having a butcher in every store. So whenever we're vertically integrated you see a huge growth in that that category in store. So trying to deliver different options for customers and kind of standardize across the company. So it's really a fascinating spot changes because of that perishability and the different sort of order cycle times are really quick. If people work in fashion retail or something like that you're planning like six months to year horizons. Whereas we're planning, you know, what's going to be on sale next week? How about how do we get this product into our stores as quickly as possible? It's it's definitely dynamic, very fast paced, which is exciting, especially in these times. 

Santosh Sankar  10:25  

And I recall in your prior role, you're involved with demand planning. And I'd be curious, like, how is demand planning and equally supply planning conducted in the grocery world?

Dan Covert  10:37  

Yeah, so it's similar to a lot of a lot of industries. We we plan for promotions. And the thing is that if you're working in fashion, you might have a promotion a few times a year for holidays. We're promoting different products every week. So we're planning for exactly what product is going to be on promotion. How big of a display or store is going to build. How much inventory did I need to support that much inventory. They already have one or alternative channels to buy that product, especially in fresh, where you, you might have a tier one supplier and that supplier might have a bad crop, you might have to go to another, another supplier to the spot market, there's a lot of that sort of demand shifting that I think is pretty dynamic, and definitely can be a challenge. So I think from a planning perspective, you know, we generally plan on a two to four week horizon for our promotions to make sure that we have the right product in stock prior to promotions, work really closely with kind of the retail merchandising teams so that we understand their merchandising strategy. So that if they're going to build a display, or something like that, that we have the right amount of product, you also work really closely with suppliers, especially if it's private label to make sure that you know they're manufacturing the amount of product that we're going to need. So it's really in the food, retail space or in our space you kind of in the middle there where we're supporting ourselves. Stores, because that's where the customers are, we've got to make sure that they have enough product. But we also have to look at the manufacturers to make sure that if it's fresh that the crop is good enough that we can get what we need for a promotion. And if it's a private label product, that they're manufacturing, sufficient quantities that we can get what we need for our stores. So definitely a juggling game. One of the other things too, is just the amount of items that you have. It's so much different than a lot of other industries in that we might have 50,000 or 60,000 SKUs in store.

Santosh Sankar  12:29  


Dan Covert  12:32  

You can't you can't individually manage every store item combination, there's probably something like 50 or 60 million store item combinations if you take all of our stores times all of our items. So you rely a lot on on algorithms to do this effectively. And then you focus on you know those those key promotions, those critical items, but then you rely a lot of math and to make sure that you have the right inventory in the plant right for for the rest of the items.

Santosh Sankar  13:00  

Sure. And you know, I'd be a bit curious like, how does one account for the sudden demand spikes that we've experienced in the last month like around the holidays? You can you get planned for but how do you deal with an event that you just weren't expecting?

Dan Covert  13:18  

Yeah, it's it's a challenge for sure. We've got a great team here. And I think people have done a great job of responding. But, to your point when you're going into Christmas, you know, Christmas is coming on the 25th. Every year, you know what products people are going to buy. There wasn't a sort of 2019 global pandemic SNMP session to say no, when the global pandemic hits this year, this is what we need to go have. It was just oh, wow, we're out of toilet paper flour, rice. People are buying on it that how do we quickly respond? So from a supply chain perspective, everybody always wants to be proactive versus reactive, but certainly in this, we saw some of the writing on the wall and tried to get as much inventory on critical items as we could, but then it hit really suddenly. And now your sales drop dramatically and it's tough to recover. So I think some of the some of the things that I do here is like the strong partnerships with our suppliers are, are really critical here. One of the big dynamics that we're seeing right now is to be more efficient manufacturers are scaling down production on the amount that's used. So there's a lot of rationalization going on in the CPG world where they might have made, you know, 1000 SKUs for us previously, and now they might be making 100. So just so their lines can be more efficient. They don't have to switch over their lines, their assortment is, is kind of much narrower, but they're able to produce a lot more of those fast selling items. So that I think from a supply chain planning perspective becomes a really interesting dynamic is that your shelf when you know you look at a shelf of ketchup, you might have 100 choices. Now he might only have 10 choices and how do we correspondingly work with our retailers to say, we need to change the merchandising in our store so they're not empty because you're only getting, you know, six types of ketchup for the next five months. But it's that's kind of the flavor of it right now. 

Santosh Sankar  15:17  


Dan Covert  15:18  

So really being able to work buyers to understand what they're going to make, try to get those strong partnerships so that they're efficient on production. We're getting our trucks there as soon as the product is ready. We're getting into our stores as quickly as possible. And really working with our merchants with a lot of our planning teams on now, what's continuing to sell. How can we start to build inventory on those products? Because what we see is, you know, shelves might be empty, but it's not like this products aren't, aren't coming. They're just selling at, you know, four or five x what they normally sell at. So the when the demand is happening, I think there's there's sort of an interesting shift. That I think a lot of people are experiencing is you want to get to the store first thing in the morning, right when that truck arrives, get toilet paper, flour and beans and all those things that people want so badly right now because they might be gone by day. So sort of trying to tailor delivery schedules to make sure that people get what they want. It's it's a wild time, I think the team has done a super good job responding to it trying to find alternative ways to get a product when some of our key suppliers or you know, if they have an outbreak at one of their, their plants, how can you switch alternative channels quickly? That's that's certainly a tactic that we've tried to deploy as much as possible. But yeah, I think that the partnerships are like in anything in supply chain are really critical. So both with the retailers, with the brands that we're supporting and with the manufacturers to make sure that we were working together to help them out as well.

Santosh Sankar  16:54  

Sure just listening to you articulate the nature of the supply side. I kind of forgot that there's this dynamic nature to produce and meats and perishable products where you just might not have the yield you expect versus the demand forecast and that adds a different level of complexity. Related to that, how does food safety play into this? I'd be remiss you know, as we're giving a primer on grocery logistics and food logistics. You know, where does food safety play into it? is it relevant throughout how how should people think about it and walk away educated about it?

Dan Covert  17:35  

Sure. I'm know by no means an expert in safety, but I'll try to try to give you my my thoughts on this. Of course, it's it's one of the most critical obligations as a retailer for selling food to people to bring home to their familie. It better, be safe, better be fresh, better be something that that they feel confident in feeding to their family. So yeah, absolutely top of mind for us in all of our products. Every thing from private label too, if it's a big CPG. If it's produce, if it's local, it's shipping from the west coast, it's critical to make sure that everything that we're shipping, we have top competence and the safety of that product. So to get sort of tactical on that, and there's tons of checks that we do, you know, inbound product at our distribution centers, making sure that the product is coming in correct if it's not meeting our specifications, and it's not something that we feel good selling to our customers, then we can reject the trucker or anything like that. So, you know, we check diligently when product comes into our warehouse check diligently when it comes into our store, people in the stores especially in fresher, going around multiple times a day making sure that the product on the shelf is still at the right temperature that the produce isn't bruised and still something that we feel feel competent. Selling to our customers a fresh product, especially in grocery stores is really the differentiator like you can buy Cheerios or candy the same at any store. But if we take a lot of pride and all of our, all the brands that retail business services supports, we take a ton of pride in making sure that, you know, they have the best best quality impression that we're really comfortable selling that to our customers. So I think kind of pivoting this a little bit into sort of the startup world and in emerging technology, there's a huge opportunity there. With fresh technology, you know, we've looked at a lot of different ways to make sure that you know, product is we can track the temperature of product isn't when it's coming all the way across the country and then use predictive analytics to say, you know, this product went above temperature for this amount of time, you either need to reroute that truck or you need to automatically reject the load. So there's a ton of, I think opportunity there in the startup space to improve, to use technology to make or you can say for its traceability, if it's, you know, getting more information on humidity and shock and temperature, time out of tempo all those things are really important so this is this is something that we spend a ton of time on. I've got someone on my team that's specifically focused on fresh supply chain strategy and innovation in that space so it's very much a top priority for our supply chain and for all the brands that we support to make sure that we got the best product for our customers.

Santosh Sankar  20:23  

And you know, I'd be curious you know if from your vantage point how our priority shifted from you know, Gen One to sitting here today on the podcast. Have the last several months of turbulence changed your priorities are you still pretty much kind of business as usual as it was set out to be at the start of the year?

Dan Covert  20:45  

I would say it's a little bit better. So I think when you when you look at the food retail supply chain, you're you're constantly balancing costs and services grocery is inherently very low margin. So you're trying to reduce your cost as much as possible. Still delivering the highest service you can to your customers. And that's the classic supply chain trade off of customer service. Throughout the pandemic, we've focused very heavily on service. Maybe sometimes being willing to pay more for product because we can provide greater service.I think more critical than ever was the need for for grocery stores and the role that they play in the community. Like, I've worked in this for this company for six or seven years. And I've never been in a time where like, well, I actually feel like we're really impacting the community with what we're doing. People are dependent on us to get the products. So I would say from a priority perspective, our priority has always been serving our customer and getting them the right products that they need. I think more than ever, we're focused on getting customers the product, keeping our pipelines full, making sure that you know, we don't we don't just have products today, but we have it tomorrow. And next week, and that you can count on all of our brands to be to have the product that that every customer needs. So I would say we've really focused on on that. We set out every year with a bunch of key strategic priorities that were, that we're going after. We're still focusing on those, but it's been for the last two or three months, kind of all hands on deck, making sure that we're doing everything we can to, to get product to the customer. So not another huge change in that regard. It's just really a heightened effort. You might scale back on some of the you might focus less on what's the greatest emerging technology, my team has pivoted a little bit from that sort of pie in the sky three year plan to what do we need to be doing right now? What analytics can we do to support our response, you know, in this month, so a little more operational and more tactical, maybe a little bit less long term strategic but ultimately trying to find the best ways to service our customers right now.

Santosh Sankar  22:59  

As you look through the supply chain like are there pressures being born on certain constituents or certain parts of the supply chain?

Dan Covert  23:09  

Yeah, I think so. So one of one of the big pressures is pressures on vendors, are they are they managing their inventory fairly? You know, when there's a big supply limitation on a lot of this, and I'm a big CPG, I've got to decide where I ship my products. So we're seeing definitely pressure on vendors to make sure that inventory is allocated correctly. There's one of the one of the biggest pressures and kind of the static pressure is when, you know, you'd see the pandemic hit some of our facilities and our association that is really, really hard to really hard to manage. They're not directly on on those lines, but it can be a huge challenge. If you've got a distribution center that gets many positive outbreaks, then that can be really challenging. So that's happening. To suppliers to, to pretty much every retailer, I mean, everyone's being impacted by this. And it's trying to figure out what what you can do how you can keep supporting our associates, like we talked about, you know, our priorities are to make sure our associates are healthy. Making sure that we're servicing our community properly. So I think we are seeing a lot of pressure on labor, being able to get people to feel safe, and you know, going outside like the, the real here then so that people in the grocery stores that are working every day, and it's easy for us to say, you know, this isn't a big deal. We're all working from home, but there's a huge amount of people, you know, we have thousands of associates every day, they're showing up to work, ticking boxes, making sure that that all of our customers are getting stores or getting food and then we have, you know, thousands of people in stores every day that are that are doing the same thing. If I was in that role, I would feel a lot of pressure, and I think that those people have absolutely risen to the occasion. We're super proud as a company of those associates because they're really making the difference.

Santosh Sankar  25:08  

Yeah, absolutely. hunkering down on the front lines. Yeah. So I'm gonna go back to a string of thoughts we had during the earlier part of our conversation around innovation. And I would specifically be curious about what your thoughts are around automation. So robotics, specifically, in terms of food and grocery logistics. Where's that going?

Dan Covert  25:34  

Yeah. So I think there's, there's huge opportunities there. One of the one of the things that, that we've been looking at is the automation is so expensive, and it takes so much time that you know, the full scale automation, the ASRS solution that people are thinking about, and it takes so much time and such a big capital investment, and there's a lot of there's so much work to be done in this case. So not saying that  there's obviously a ton of value in that one. One thing that my team has been working on that we're really excited about is sort of this, you know, flexible enhancement to improve a worker's productivity. Not to improve their productivity rather, but to just improve the working conditions. So we've been working with this company develops these suits that helps our our selectors. It reduces the fatigue on the selection process. Imagine if you're picking 50 pound cases, beef, eight hours every day, five days a week, sometimes longer than that. The amount of fatigue that that puts on your body is it's really taxing. That's kind of one of the projects that we're most excited about this for this year, because it's like automation often gets a stigma of like, you're going to replace the workers. And I think that what's so cool about this is now we're not we're not doing that we're actually making, we're allowing you to continue to do the same job but we're just improving the conditions that you're working in. Making it easier for you to do the same work. So I think that that's a really cool space. Something that we're really excited about is sort of this flexible or co-automation. I guess that's the term that people use to talk about that sort of thing. I think there's a huge opportunity there, because a lot of the work that still done in warehouses is you know, you need to be able to be flexible. And when you have to ramp up demand to 150% of normal, the automated solution can be sort of limited at that you can only get so much capacity out of that. So I think there's always going to be sort of a collaboration here where there's some products definitely make sense to automate where it can be really tedious and working in a freezer all days is very difficult. And people don't often want to do that. But in other areas, it's, you know, when you can rank on capacity really efficiently. There's there's a huge opportunity there. So I think it's kind of kind of a serpentine answer to your question, but I think I think there's a huge opportunity and it's not just sort of a replacement strategy. It's more of a collaboration strategy, which I think we're starting to see some really good benefits from this year.

Santosh Sankar  28:07  

Do you think the ROI around automation actually improves? As we've seen,  the fragility that having a lot of people in distribution sites brings around having to quit facilities with added safety and health precaution? Do you think that might actually bring the ROI story to a place where people say, yeah, let's accelerate this?

Dan Covert  28:36  

I think I think you could definitely make that case that it's becoming, you're seeing a lot of the impact. Now, as I was making the point earlier, that if you have a positive outbreak in your supply chain and facilities, especially then it could really, really cripple that. So I think that that's probably a competitive business case that people didn't really think about two years ago. And I think, yeah, the recent the recent A prevalence of that is really would be very positive for a business case is just sort of as a contingency. There's a lot of a lot of resilience that you can have with an automated facility. But, yeah, I mean, I think it's tough. Because we really value the people in our facilities. And I think that they're kind of critical to our business. So automation can often get the wrong impression, or I don't want to go too far down on that. I think that there's a huge opportunity to want to improve our workers well-being in the facilities. But yeah, I think that that could go in conjunction with the well being conversation with that. Yeah. If you're feeling unsafe being in a facility, then there's alternative solutions for that. 

Santosh Sankar  29:46  

Yeah. We have one of our portfolio founders Eric Nieves at Plus One robotics says, robots work but people rule because there's a hell of a lot of things that humans will just always be better. So we need to augment our people. Out of curiosity, how do you balance internal R&D and then you know, external efforts such as you know, Dynamo's founders can find for participating in various ecosystem events.

Dan Covert  30:14  

It's an interesting balance, because what you want to do is think the external collaborations are super important, because then you're aware of what's going on in the industry. But at the same time, the the internal is really important because you want to be solving the right problem. Everyone loves like shiny objects, like autonomous vehicles and drones. And that sort of stuff, doesn't really solve that many problems that we have right now. They don't solve critical problems with the current state of the technology. So I think what my team tries to do is spend at least 20% of our week on the external side, understanding what's happening in the ecosystem, so we've got a good partnership with the incubator in Cambridge, Massachusetts that we work with quite a bit globally. Got the partnership with you, Dynamo and Founder's camp, we've been to a few times. So I think that that's really important having a pulse to what people are doing in adjacent industries, how the supply chain, startup space is changing. I think that's very important. But then it's also making sure that we're solving the right problems. So spending a lot of time with the operations teams in our company and understanding what problems they're trying to solve, so that we can get sort of imply that external research to the right, sort of problems internally.

Santosh Sankar  31:29  

Sure, sure. And for the entrepreneurs in our audience, is there an area of grocery food or just broadly in supply chain that you think is being overlooked? Or people are just unaware of and they should be building in that category? 

Dan Covert  31:49  

Yeah, I think there's, I think the the almost almost question is looking at, you know, where there is a huge amount of startup activity taking taking place. Then spending time and interest to store and understanding what's really going on. So I think there's there's a ton of work being done ton of companies that are kind of solving the Uber freight type problem. You know, matching carriers and shippers, I think that that's, that's a space that's really heavily populated right now with a lot of a lot of companies doing doing really great stuff. I think really, on the product side is super interesting. Like, especially in the fresh product side, I think that that is going to become increasingly important for us it is kind of one of our one of the most critical parts of the food retail space. But how can we how can we get fresher product to our customers, it's really one of the questions that we think about all the time. So there's a ton of work being done on leafy greens here, like, especially on the East Coast, growing products inside. Growing leafy greens closer to the customer, instead of shipping them from one Valley in California. There's a huge opportunity there, but that's really the only space that we're seeing a lot of that happening. So anything that can shorten the supply chain, I think is very interesting. I think there's a cool opportunity there. Obviously, it's a very capital intensive business. The applications of analytics are obviously endless. And I think that we're spending a lot more time my team especially. Yeah, we have so much information or supply chain. How do we make sense of that? I think that that's a pretty popular space right now as well. I think one of the things that this isn't so much an opportunity, but it's just a way to work with big companies like ours, that we found to be very effective is the startups that we've been able to get stuff done with, like a simple product that people can see that doesn't necessarily involve having an IP integration team at all. I think a lot of the, you know, stuff more on the software side. It's obviously what people are developing. Now that can be really difficult to get a pilot done quickly with a large organization. The stuff that we've had the most success with, they're just like, hey, we've got this way to help pickers. more effectively, it looks like this, I've got it in my hand doesn't take it, you can go plug it into your DC right now give it to your workers help them work more efficiently, stuff like that. kind of the point I was making earlier around automation, where we're working with a company that to help make picking less fatiguing, and we're not going to worry, but less stressful enter on our pickers. So this is something that's been super impactful because we can just say, "Great. Let's go try it in our in our warehouse next week." It's just so easy to do stuff like that, versus Hey, I've got this cool algorithm that has this fancy UI. I need these 50 different streaming data sources. Can I work with your IT team?" And yeah, in three years maybe. So I think finding that that sort of area where it's really quick to test something that you don't have this, you know, this thinking about all the people that would have to be involved for a pilot to be successful is I think sort of the the mark of Are you going to have good traction with a big organization? The smaller the amount of people that have to be involved to get it off the ground, but the better?

Santosh Sankar  35:08  

Yeah, no, absolutely. Absolutely. I think those are great insights. Dan. We've had a awesome episode. I think folks who dial in and listen to this are surely going to understand how things get to their store shelves and on their kitchen table a lot clearer. But with that, hopefully can host you here in Chattanooga. I don't know if it'll be this year, but hopefully in the near future, nonetheless. Appreciate it. Cheers. 

Dan Covert  35:39  

Wonderful. Thanks so much. Yeah. Great. Great to catch up.

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