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ChainLink Team

ChainLink Research's Team includes some of the worlds leading experts in Supply Chain Management, advanced business models, research methodologies – and diverse perspectives.

Ann Grackin - Chief Executive Officer
Bill McBeath - Chief Research Officer FOLLOW US:   
John Boyne - Senior Vice President, Healthcare and CPG
Lonnie Childs - Senior Vice President, High Tech Supply Chain Management
Robert Bruce - Senior Vice President, Retail Supply Chain Management

Ann Grackin
- Chief Executive Officer

For more than two decades, Ann Grackin has been on the frontlines of the Supply Chain Management technology and eCommerce frontier, leading global strategy and technology implementations in the high technology, semiconductor, automotive, textile, and apparel industries. Ms. Grackin has served in many capacities in this dynamic environment and worked on global supply chains strategies for some of the leading Fortune 500 firms, with assignments in Asia and Europe and the North America.

As a partner and cofounder of ChainLink Research, Ms. Grackin is responsible for leading the firm's Supply Chain strategy. She comes to this position with a parallax view from seeing all angles of the supply chain problem-as an end-user implementer in a global fortune 100 firm, a technologist, a global consultant, an executive in a Supply Chain software firm, a columnist in the leading Supply Chain magazines, and one of the leading analysts in Supply Chain!

Her biography sets the stage for leading the charge at ChainLink's Research:

  • Before coming to ChainLink Research, Ms. Grackin served as the Vice President of Supply Chain Strategy at AMR Research.
  • Prior to ChainLink, Ms. Grackin was vice president of sales and marketing at Verilytics. She led sales and product management to meet the needs of clients in financial services and supply chain operations.
  • Before joining Verilytics, Ms. Grackin served as executive vice president at Avicon, a Massachusetts based strategy and IT consulting firm. She co-founded the firm to help companies Web-enable their supply chains.
  • Previously, Ms. Grackin was a Foundation Partner at Benchmarking Partners and led the Supply Chain practice. She worked with the leading technology providers to help create product and industry strategies for their Supply Chain products as well as leading end-user firms, creating supply chain technology visions.
  • At Digital Equipment Corporation, Ms. Grackin led information technology organizations and projects throughout the world in Supply Chain, Logistics and Manufacturing including the first global implementation of i2 Technologies advanced planning software, as well as some of the leading packages in use today.

Ann Grackin, a popular speaker and respected writer on supply chain management best practices and technology, is a graduate of the Harvard School of Executive Management and the Sloan School of Strategic Planning.

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Bill McBeath
- Chief Research Officer

Bill McBeath leads ChainLink's research efforts, as well as the procurement, strategic sourcing, design collaboration, and online marketplaces practices. With more than 20 years of experience in a variety of roles as a business and technology researcher and consultant, high tech executive, and software architect, Mr. McBeath is recognized as a leading expert in extended-enterprise business models.

Before co-founding ChainLink Research, Mr. McBeath was Managing Director of Emerging Technologies at Benchmarking Partners/Surgency, where he formulated and executed successful go-to-market strategies for dozens of startups and established firms. His accomplishments provide a strong foundation for ChainLink's services:

  • Research - Deep primary research, analysis, and publication of groundbreaking, frequently quoted papers on business-to-business integration, extended-enterprise business models, e-procurement best practices, online marketplaces, and supply chain optimization.
  • Strategy - Conducted numerous CEO-team workshops on go-to-market strategies, positioning, partnerships, pricing, and organization strategies.
  • ROI Models - Developed a number of different return-on-investment models to calculate ROI in areas as diverse as outsourced global strategic sourcing, design collaboration, e-procurement, and pricing automation.
  • Technology Architecture - Leveraged more than 15 years as a software engineer to create 3-year IT roadmaps for F500 companies and architecture strategies for software and Internet firms.

Prior to joining Surgency, Mr. McBeath served as Director of Server Engineering at NEC Computer Systems, responsible for all server hardware and software development. Previously as Director of Networking, Performance and Systems Integration, Mr. McBeath grew NEC's communications and options business from nothing to over $75M within four years.

Earlier in his career, Mr. McBeath was the lead architect of Data General's CommServer multi-protocol messaging switch, as well as Wang's network architecture (WSN). He was a principal designer and developer of a wide variety of advanced software including a distributed OS communications system, SNA Mainframe emulator, virtual machine monitor, and numerous others.

Bill McBeath is a popular speaker, having delivered keynote addresses and led panel discussions at various industry conferences. In addition to undergraduate work at Hampshire College, Mr. McBeath has completed graduate level studies in Digital Network Technologies at MIT and Microprogramming and Emulation at Northeastern University.

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John Boyne
-- Senior Vice President, Healthcare and CPG

John Boyne specializes in identifying and implementing best practices to drive revenue enhancements, cost efficiencies, and services effectiveness for ChainLink’s clients.  His background as a Partner/Senior Executive with companies such as GE Healthcare, CSC Consulting, IBM, Hitachi Consulting, Ralston-Purina, and Union Pacific Railroad includes 25 years of executive business operations leadership, award-winning information systems management, and C-level strategic consulting with the G5000. Mr. Boyne works with teams that range from CEOs to plant floor resources in high tech, consumer packaged goods, process and discrete manufacturing, utilities and health care, both nationally and internationally.

Mr. Boyne brings to consulting his real-world business experience of P&L responsibility for bottom-line performance, customer satisfaction, and business growth. In his educational, military, business, and consulting responsibilities, he has managed multicultural divisions, multi-site research teams and data centers, leading diverse workforces in the creation of high-performing self-managing teams that deliver positive customer and business results. He is known for introducing innovative methodologies to accelerate value for his clients.

For software solution providers, John Boyne has created and led demand creation and sales acceleration programs, acting as an adviser on business-value consultative selling and providing on-site deal support when requested.

Mr. Boyne holds an M.A. in 17th Century and Restoration Literature (with a minor in Latin) and a B.S. in Education from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, IL. He studied organization design and development at Washington University in Saint Louis and earned a German Proficiency Degree from the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio of Monterey, CA. In addition, he completed a Logistics Management Program at Michigan State University and 200-plus hours of professional training in participative management, self-managing teams, project management, change management, and organizational development throughout his career.

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Lonnie Childs
- Senior Vice President, High Tech Supply Chain Management

Lonnie Childs brings 25 years of experience in Operations and Supply Chain management in a variety of manufacturing industries including electronics, defense, machining, and start-up operations. During his 10 year tenure at Dell Computer Corporation from 1991-2001, he served as Director of Demand/Supply Planning and Director of Portables Supply Chain Management for Americas Operations and held responsibility for designing, implementing, and managing many of Dell’s leading edge processes for demand/supply planning and supply chain management while the company engaged in explosive growth. Mr. Childs sponsored and actively engaged in the project management to implement demand planning, supply planning and shop floor control systems which were instrumental to Dell’s operational excellence. He also managed the successful transition of Portables manufacturing from the US to Dell’s Asian operations which resulted in significant cost savings. Since retiring from Dell in 2001, Mr. Childs has provided independent management consulting services to manufacturing companies.

Lonnie Childs' professional associations include serving as President, Director of Education, and Instructor for the Austin chapter of the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS).

Mr. Childs holds a Bachelors degree from the University of Texas at Austin and has done graduate work in Business Administration at St. Edward’s University.

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Robert Bruce
- Senior Vice President, Retail Supply Chain Management

Robert Bruce is an industry leading authority on retail demand and supply chain integration, optimization and collaboration. Mr. Bruce has more than 25 years in the retail industry spanning merchandising, store operations, buying, merchandising systems, analytics inventory management, merchandise and space planning, replenishment, forecasting and supply chain management. Previously, Mr. Bruce was Director of IT Strategy and Planning Systems Architecture for Hewlett Packard; Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Risk Management Consulting for Marsh Risk Management; Senior Partner of Diversified Retail Solutions, LLC, and Partner at Benchmarking Partners (Surgency) a Boston based consulting firm focused on retail/CPG industry.

Before joining Benchmarking Partners, Robert Bruce served as Walmart's Vice-President for Inventory Management and Corporate Supply Chain Strategies. Through his 18 years at Walmart, he led in the definition and implementation of inventory management practices, methods and policies at corporate, distribution center and store levels. He was also instrumental in defining and driving Walmart's replenishment and forecasting systems. While at Walmart, he played a major role in conceiving, defining and implementing VMI, Co-Managed and CPFR programs. Mr. Bruce was also instrumental in the design and implementation of many of Walmart's merchandising, assortment planning, seasonal, new item, short cycle and apparel planning processes and systems for both Walmart Stores, Sam's and Super Centers. He lead the effort to define vertical profit and loss statements for trading partners measuring the net profitability through cross-optimized merchandising and supply programs which measured the overall effectiveness of trading partner relationships.

Mr. Bruce is also known as the "Father of CPFR" serving as the original Chairman of the VICS/CPFR Subcommittee as part of the Dynamic Information Sharing/Merchants Issues Committee of VICS, guiding the industry vision and direction on process, metrics and data standards for CPFR. In this role, he drove industry definition, guidelines and standards reflected in the VICS/CPFR published guidelines and roadmap. He was also chosen as an outside expert advisor to Alan Greenspan and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System on Retail Inventory Management Practices and Direction. Mr. Bruce helped drive the formulation of Supply Chain Council at the University of Arkansas School of Business and was asked to join its original Board of Directors.

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