How to Manage the Supply Chain Disruptions

January 19, 2023 Mimi Torrington

supply chain management worker on operations field

Whether personally or professionally, we've all felt the pain associated with the supply chain not functioning as it should be these last two years. Unfortunately, it's an issue that seems to be here for the foreseeable future, so companies are hiring for management and the implementation of new ways to try to solve supply chain disruption.

As a result, we've invited Bona Allen, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Kajima Building & Design Group, to share his expertise and pieces of valuable advice on how to manage these challenges better.

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Welcome back to CFO Weekly, where we're talking with financial leaders about how to build efficiency in their teams, create time for strategy, and ultimately get results, with your host, Megan Weis. Let's jump right in.

Megan: Today my guest is Bona Allen. Mr. Allen is a seasoned executive that has provided executive leadership across multiple industries and diverse business environments. He is an accomplished financial professional with an entrepreneurial spirit, drawing upon his many years of experience to provide financial and operational leadership at the highest levels. Mr. Allen serves as the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Kajima Building and Design Incorporated and Subsidiaries, otherwise known as KBD Group. A subsidiary of the US operations of Kajima Corporation, one of the largest international design and construction companies globally.

Kajima Corporation is based in Tokyo, Japan, and has operations in 21 countries worldwide. KBD Group is a fully integrated design-build firm providing turnkey architectural, engineering, and construction solutions to its many US and international clients. Over the last five years, KBD Group has designed and constructed over $1.5 billion of projects in the United States. This includes numerous $100 million-plus major manufacturing projects that have provided thousands of jobs.

In addition, KBD Group has completed over 200 industrial warehouse projects in the last five years, totaling over 45 million square feet of space. Mr. Allen is also active in the community serving as a co-chair of the Atlanta chapter of the CFO Leadership Council. As the chair of the Alcohol License Review Board for the city of Dunwoody on the board of directors for 3Keys, a nonprofit focused on ending chronic homelessness, as well as other industry and community roles. Bona, thank you very much for joining me today.

Bona Allen: Thank you for having me, Megan.

Megan: Today, we're going to be discussing supply chain disruptions and how to better manage them. Whether personally or professionally, we've all felt the pain associated with a supply chain that isn't functioning as it should be these last two years, but it's an issue that seems to be here for the foreseeable future. There are ways to better manage these challenges, and Bona, I'm looking forward to your advice. First, let's start with a little bit about you. First, tell us about your career journey to date, and how it is that you got to where you are right now.

Bona: Thank you for asking that. My career journey started in Accounting and Business Administration in college. Then unlike a lot of folks that start out in accounting, I did not go straight to public accounting. I went straight into real estate development and construction. I started my career and was with this initial group for five or six years. Then with one of the downturns that seems to plague real estate development and construction, I was laid off and then found myself in another group, that was in Birmingham, Alabama.

Then came back to Atlanta. I'm originally from Atlanta, Georgia, and joined a group that is Dutch-owned and had real estate holdings across the country and across the world, but we were focused on the US here. The US headquarters was here in Atlanta. We have construction companies and development projects all over the US. Then that led into the savings and loan problem in real estate in the late '80s or early '90s. Then at that point, I helped work out of big out-of-court bankruptcy basically.

At the time, there were a lot of real estate companies going under and declaring bankruptcy, but we were able to work around that by assigning all of our assets either in essence to a good bank or a bad bank based on whether or not those properties were performing. The properties that were performing went into a trust. We gradually worked our way out of those and generated cash to pay for deficiencies associated with properties that were not performing. We paid everybody off, and I worked my way out of a job. Then at that point, I went back and got my CPA. I sat for the CPA exam 13 or so years after I graduated from college. I did not pass the first time, it took me a couple of trials but finally got my CPA license.

The state of Alabama has a two-tier licensing program so that you can get the license and not practice publicly because you haven't practiced publicly in the public realm. I am deemed a CPA, but I just don't hang my shield out in practice public accounting, which I really didn't want to do anyway. That was the beginning of my career. Since then, I've been the city's chief financial officer for a public company. It was publicly traded, and we were buying and investing in hotel properties. Then later, I've got another stint in a privately-owned hotel company, and we've developed our own hotel brand.

I've had a couple of stints in the hospitality business. Then I've been with groups that have big master plan developments, both on the industrial side, commercial side, and the residential side. I've got experience in single-family, multi-family development, multi-family ownership, and management, both in the market rate and affordable housing for lower-income type folks. Then that brings me to KBD, Kajima Building and Design Group. I've been here almost nine years now.

The parent company is based in Tokyo. It was formed in 1840 in Tokyo and now has worldwide operations focused primarily on architectural and engineering services and construction. In the US here, that's what we focus on is architectural engineering. We've got architects and engineers on staff. We can design and build big manufacturing facilities, advanced manufacturing facilities, warehouse distribution facilities around the US. Then in the northeast, we've got an operation in that side of New York City. We do a lot of work in the city there and surrounding areas.

Megan: KBD is focused on manufacturing facilities.

Bona: Yes, industrial. That's right. Manufacturing and warehouse distribution.

Megan: As you look back on your career, are there any particular stories that stand out in your mind as turning points?

Bona: Yes, actually, the concept of networking. [laughs]

Megan: It's so important.

Bona: Yes, it is, and it's really difficult for accounting-type folks. Megan, I see it in your profile, you talk about being a people person, and I think that's where I am as well. I don't think I started out that way. I'm naturally not a people person or wasn't years and years ago. I enjoy just keeping my head down and doing accounting work, but then I found that, especially through one or two cycles, I really need to get out there and meet people. That's a lot more fun than straight accounting work anyway. I think that's a big turning point for me is the concept of networking.

At this point, is really trying to help other people. There are other folks out there in the job market or other-- whether they're trying to build a business or trying to find another opportunity, a few minutes of my time can make a big difference to somebody else. For me, it's a turning point is the concept of networking to help folks. Secondly, is my public company experience.

I think that helped a lot and gave me a different perspective or gave me a different perspective, especially in corporate governance and how as leaders and executives in a company, how we need to communicate to our shareholders and make sure that they have all the information they need. They may not read it. It may be a little boring, which is another task and coming upon us is to make all these numbers down to something that tells a real compelling story. That was helpful in the public company experience.

Then third, I think is the hospitality experience. When you build a hotel and you're running a hotel, you really have guests there, and it's a 24-hour operation, which is inherent, and it makes sense. Until you're on the floor, and they're trying to service your guests, then it doesn't really hit home. I think that's another aspect of my career journey is understanding the servant leadership aspect of it and serving others and treating everyone as guests. There's a lot more to it, but I'll stop there. [chuckles]

Megan: That's interesting. When you speak of your experience in hospitality, did you get out of the accounting department and spend time within the hotel, or how did that really hit home?

Bona: Yes, my first stint in hotels was the public company, and we were buying properties. We were just investing in the hotels. I'd go look at them occasionally but not really get involved in operations. The second time was in the early 2000s, and we developed a hotel brand, a concept. We developed from scratch, and we pulled together the equity funding and debt funding. We were building prototype properties from scratch. It's a very small development company. Then we organized a management company to run the property, first one property out there in Plano, Texas, and then it grew to about four or five properties.

When we opened that property, everybody went out there to help open it. We've got 90 or 100 rooms and we all have to pitch in and make sure each room is ready and all the lights work. Then we're all tasked so greeting people and being friendly to guests and making sure folks have everything. Even if you're just in the accounting group, whether on the corporate side or the property side, you're still all about guest service.

Megan: I always think it's so important for people to get out of their offices and go experience the operation side of things at least once in their career.

Bona: Oh, that's critical, absolutely, and now in the construction business, too. That's fun. It's getting out and going to job sites and putting on boots and getting a little muddy and letting those guys drive you around in their four-wheelers in the mud because then you can see exactly what you're building. On the accounting side, the only way we can really help build buildings is making sure everybody gets paid, which is-- Obviously, that's really important. Beyond that, going and seeing these giant million square facilities that we build coming up and becoming reality is key I think to-- The hard part is actually making time to do it. Then these days, within the COVID era, making sure you can do all that safely.

Megan: I'd like to go back to your point about networking. You're recognized as a connector, someone with a rare blend of people skills and technical expertise. How does being a connector assist you in your role as a CFO?

Bona: Thank you. I think that it's key as a CFO or at any level but for me, as an executive, is leading and developing relationships. Hate to use the term across the aisle because we're not really at odds per se, but sometimes there can be a tension between accounting folks or accounting group and operations. I think it's critical to develop relationships. We're all on the same team. Develop relationships with folks that are in the field and have different perspectives. That's what I've tried to do here, especially here at Kajima where I'm the first non-Japanese CFO this group has had. My predecessors would generally be more focused on the numbers and keeping their heads down and making sure things tie down to the penny.

That's not really my perspective, I think that's where a table stakes. There are other folks that are more responsible for that on a day-to-day basis. My role was really is to develop relationships and enhance relationships between everyone in the accounting group with everyone else in the company. We really are one team without silos. To that point, I've worked very closely with the leaders and operations, and we have periodic meetings twice a month. Sometimes meals will go out for the folks that are here in Atlanta and develop those relationships at all levels. With that, then it enhances the productivity and the efficiency of everyone involved because we work so much better together. Does that make sense?

Megan: It definitely does. I think it's so important these days to be able to tear down those silos.

Bona: That's right. I don't know, I think it's a different concept that has evolved over time. Back years and years ago, you had each department, whatever they are, and they would not talk too much unless they had to.

Megan: Not that long ago, really. Probably, 20 years ago, it was that way.

Bona: That's right. Depending on the listener, that could be a really long time, or that could be yesterday. We've got five core values, and starting out with safety, we are a construction company. They include respect and integrity and passion. One team is a core value so everyone working together as one team and continuous improvement. I think our core values embody what we're talking about is everyone working together to make things better and ultimately to provide the highest quality product for our clients.

Megan: As you look back on your time with KBD, what have been your proudest achievements?

Bona: I think a lot of what we just talked about is developing the relationships between our different groups. That had not happened. It had started when I got here. It's not just me. I'm not the one that got us to where we are today. It truly is a team effort in developing relationships. There's a person that has joined us here; he's a controller who has really, really taken that to another level. The controller here is working across all the different department lines and has made great strides. I think I opened the door, and then others are taking lead, which is the way it should be. That's one thing.

Then enhanced technology. Nine years ago, it seemed like we were just a half a step away from 13 column spreadsheets.


Literally and then figuratively using Excel in the same way. Really, it's just been the last couple of years, we've been able to bring in some digital tools that are helping us a lot in financial reporting and analysis. We still have a ways to go. We are on the right path absolutely and from a standpoint of dashboarding and KPIs. Again, the table stakes or historical reporting was really important is determining where we're going as a company. I think that's the direction that I've been able to bring to bear. There's technology tools.

The other thing, in that regard, relates to processing accounts payable. Nobody wants to talk about accounts payable except that if you don't pay your subcontractors on time, then they're not going to do the work that you need them to do. We can talk about that a little bit more in a minute. We've implemented a more digital process in that regard that will help our efficiency a lot. Then making sure all this is scalable. When I started, our lot volume was around $200 million a year in revenue, I think. This is our subsidiary. Last year, 2021, we're pushing $600 million. In 2022, we're looking at about $800 million in revenues.

Some of that is inflationary. Some of that is due to increased pricing, but in large part, it's more volume of jobs. KBD happens to be in a very good market segment for these pandemic times building warehouse distribution for internet commerce, building manufacturing. We've got two plants now that are being used to develop and produce vaccines. Some of these manufacturing and distribution are cold storage related.

Then we are in the manufacturing side as well. We've migrated into some not renewable energy but renewable products. Aluminum cans are a big market segment for us now. Our future looks really good, and the key then is also making sure our internal infrastructure can handle it from a scalability standpoint. I think we're well-positioned from that view.

Megan: It sounds like it. It sounds like you've accomplished quite a bit, so congratulations on that.

Bona: Oh, thank you. It's not just me. It is not one person, it's everybody around me too.

Megan: That's the sign of a good leader. Let's switch gears a bit. In today's environment, how is KBD dealing with the supply chain challenges? You're in an interesting position where you feel the pain but also building these manufacturing facilities. I would think you can help alleviate some of it.

Bona: Yes, you would think so, except we're not building facilities to manufacture construction products. Now you're right. What we're doing is building manufacturing facilities to make more goods that people want. That is true, absolutely.

Megan: You're not alleviating your own pain. You're helping to alleviate your client's pain.

Bona: That's exactly right. We're helping society. The short answer would be two things, and it gets back to relationships and to talk about how we've managed through the supply chain issues. This time, two years ago, in the early part of 2020, and as we progressed through Q1, like everybody else, we were worried. We had no idea what the pandemic would mean, what it would hold for the future, and so our business really slowed down initially, even though we had a large backlog coming into 2020.

Backlog in our world means projects that are under contract but not yet built. We're contracted to build something, but we haven't built it yet, or we're in the process of building, and we've got-- the backlog, in that case, would be what's yet to be put in place. Coming into 2020, we had a strong backlog, then our work just slowed down because even though we are in large part, most of our job sites inherently can be pretty safe from a social distancing standpoint. When you have a 3 or 4-acre site, you're building 1 or 2 million square foot buildings. The guy on the earth moving equipment doesn't really need to be near anybody anyway. [chuckles]

In those large buildings, when you're building them out, people, men, and women are in there, but they can be far apart. Our trailers generally are pretty big too, except in the northeast and upper midwest, generally, we can have meetings outside, maybe not in the wintertime though. Overall, we were able to avoid a lot of the illness and the spread of COVID in that time frame just because we were able to stay safe.

Then as we moved into later into 2020 and on like everyone else, we started having supply chain problems, and it would roll between the various commodities that we use. Initially, it was steel, steel slowed down production, and then the prices went through the roof. That's where the relationship aspect comes in. Buying slowed down, but then the contract started picking up. Our existing clients plus new clients started seeing that internet commerce was going to explode, which of course, it did. We wound up with a lot of new developer clients who are buying property, buying land, and then putting up spec buildings that would later sell.

What positioned us well was having relationships with the suppliers starting with steel and roofing and concrete so that when we say, "Okay, your prices are going up and we've got a contract with a client." Initially, we would try to get some relief from the client, but the client would say, "No, you signed your contract, you'll build the building for this price." We would do it. We upheld and stuck to our word with our clients. The subcontractors would have to increase their pricing, even though they were on a contract too, but we did not want our subs to go under our trade partners. We would pay their increased pricing and just take the hit.

Number 1, relationships. Number 2, the financial capacity initially to be able to absorb some of those increases and delayed time frames. Two, initial big factors is because we've been doing this for so long, we had some long-standing relationships with trade partners, and then the financial capacity to take some hits on jobs where we had not planned to do so. Since then, working through 2020 into '21 and then later in '21, we've been able to negotiate with our clients to say, "Look, these prices and delivery times are fluctuating, we're not going to have final pricing to you until your goods are delivered." Initially, the client said, "No, I'm not going to do it, either take it or leave it, sign a contract or not with us."

Then as the market changed and all these general contractors were saying the same thing and seeking the same relief, our clients started saying, "Yes, we can see that." They started agreeing to much of that. Really, it's developing partnerships with our clients so that they trust us that we'll be as transparent as possible and show them exactly why our prices are going up and why things are being delayed. Then partnerships with our trade partners and subcontractors and suppliers to say, "Look, you didn't sign a contract with us. We understand that the pricing and the delivery schedule is in flux right now, but we'll pay you in the timeframe that we agreed to."

That's where it wound up and where we are today. The result has been a huge level of success for us and our clients and our suppliers and trade partners. I think, in that case, it just boils down to two things is one, having the relationships and developing new relationships and sticking to your word. Then secondly, being fortunate enough for us to have a financial capacity to back up our words. That's where we are.

Megan: I think that financial capacity is so important. I'm sure that's why quite a few businesses went under as COVID hit because they just couldn't withstand that storm.

Bona: That's exactly right. We all hate that. That's the nature of capitalism on the one hand. On the other hand, we all as business people would hate for anyone to go under. We've been very fortunate, Number 1 to have a strong financial capacity starting with this group. Kajima is a subsidiary of Kajima Group in the US, KUSA.

As I mentioned, we'll do $600 million to $800 million in revenues. We're one of six construction companies in the US, and then also in the US, there're real estate development companies. Combined, the US company will do about $2 billion to $3 billion a year, maybe pushing $4 billion now this year, 2021/2022. Our group is a net lender. We've generated enough cash and don't have any debt. We have a consolidated cash management system at the KUSA level. We'll just send excess cash to the parent company, and they pay us more interest than we can get in the market. That works well too. [chuckles]

Megan: For all the CFOs listening, what are some strategies that they can use to help mitigate the negative results of supply chain disruption right now?

Bona: Hopefully, it's not too late to develop those relationships with your providers, whether they're service providers, or material providers, or trade partners. Develop relationships so that everyone understands we're in this together. Then also, it's very competitive out there right now. This goes hand in hand with enhancing revenues. How do we help bring new clients in, and how can we help to develop relationships with clients and be maybe net proactive but also creative? That's not normally our strong suit for those of us that are have accounting backgrounds.

It also gets back to networking. If you develop relationships with people outside of accounting or outside of your specific industry, then it opens your mind to think about new and different ways to do things. I think that's where we are. The world has changed and is constantly changing. It's up to us to say, "How do we continue, and how do we be successful in this new world?" One is to treat everyone with respect, the people that provide you services or materials, including your employees because these days, people are coming and going at great rates. Keep the good people, hopefully, and as opposed to losing good people and keeping the ones that are BNC players.

How do you keep your people? How do you keep your suppliers and keep them as happy as you can? Then how do you enhance and bring in more and more clients and deeper revenue streams? That's the question, but I think the answer is leaders and CFO level type leaders, it's incumbent upon us to try to look to the future and try to see how we can help them and have open minds and be creative where we can.

Megan: We touched on this a bit. With all of the companies that are going under, how do you determine who to partner with, and how do you evaluate your supplier risk?

Bona: The first step for us is with our project teams. We'll have a new project. First of all, we've got existing relationships, but I think the question goes beyond that is if we're going into a new area or our existing relationships or the right capacity and we need more providers, we need more material providers or subcontract providers, we'll go into the marketplace and canvass the subcontractor market or trade partner market and develop relationships there.

It starts with our project team, and they do an extensive interview process looking at these potential partners to evaluate their capacity, whether it's from a volume standpoint. Really, if they focus on, can this new group handle the volume that we're talking about? For a lot of our manufacturing facilities, again, it could be 1 million-plus square feet on the roof plus lots and lots of equipment that goes into these things and the utilities that have to support that equipment. Many of our trade partners have to have a lot of capacity to fulfill their obligations. The first step is at the project level, our teams will interview those folks, and then negotiate contracts.

Then it comes down to really the rest of the pre-qualification process is financial. We'll get historical financial statements, the last year, and then whatever the interim is. We've got a bonding process. I'll take a look at the financial statements. Actually, the project team will take the first pass, and then then I'll look at those and ask questions and look at all the normal stuff, the working capital levels, what are their historical results, and what's in place now? A lot of times folks don't want to disclose that. From my perspective out, I don't mind sending financials out at all because we're pretty strong financially, so that's okay. [chuckles] That's why people are reticent.

The larger ones are not. The larger subcontractors already have all this in place. Then bonding, piping for performance bonds, we have a threshold that we stick pretty strongly to so that our trade partners must be bonded if their contract value is over a certain amount. That in and of itself does not mean that they will perform, but what we found is that for subcontractors and trade partners that do have a bond in place on a job, they'll pay more attention to that job because they do not want that bond to be called. Those are the basics as we evaluate folks to partner with and the supplier markets and the trade partner markets.

Megan: That's so important these days and also finding reasonable suppliers that are willing to work with you. As you mentioned, it's critical these days that you're able to pass along price increases.

Bona: Also, the flip side of that is what we found here recently too is particularly in steel, and in some cases, roofing. We can negotiate for multiple projects with one provider. Then for each individual project, basically, accelerated discounted payment terms. We can have a [unintelligible 00:29:28] some numbers at a $10 million steel package on a building and over two, three months. Normally, our contracts are structured so that payments to subcontractors and trade partners are when we get paid, pay when paid. We're not obligated to pay them until we receive payment from our client.

What we found is we can get pretty good discounts by prepaying those. Now, it puts more risk on us to make sure that our clients will pay us because if we pay millions of dollars out of pocket and something goes wrong with a client, then we could be stuck. That hasn't happened because we also do diligence on our client base as well to make sure that there's funding in place for each project that we build. We really are a creditor for $80 million, $90 million on a big plan. Also, a point I'd like to make is going hand-in-hand with all this is being true to your word. Just being honest and saying, "If we commit to payment plans with our providers, then we will stick to that as long as you perform. As long as you perform, we'll pay you." I think that's a key as well is just being honest and transparent as possible.

Megan: Agree with that. What advice do you have for CFOs looking to drive strategic value to grow revenue and margin and maybe if they can't grow revenue to be able to manage the margin in this ridiculously inflationary period?

Bona: Margin is key. [chuckles] Gee, I can talk forever about this. In our specific market, in the construction business, we've got jobs that are underway at any given point. For us, these jobs generally are on the outside two years long. Generally, they're closer to a year, 12 months, or so long. For us, is looking at a job and saying, "Okay, well, this is the margin that we've been able to achieve this far within this business unit. Then get down into specific jobs." We recognize revenue and cost and profit based on percentage of completion.

In the last two years now, there were some jobs that took big financial hits because as I mentioned earlier, we absorbed price increases on certain commodities. You could look at the past and say, "These are the margins in this one job or this group of jobs from the past. Can we get better than that? Can we do better? If so, then why?" What do you think's going to happen? If we have again, a $20 million job that in total is projected at a certain percentage, I'm not going to give our margins out. It's not really a competitive thing. It's more that we're a little bit embarrassed that they're low, but if we've achieved a low margin in this one job here to four but then we think it's going to be higher going forward, how does that make sense?

Then you bring that up from job to job, then consolidate it. Then you say to me, for CFOs out there, how can we enhance margins? Then I think it's helping the project team look at, are they using their people as efficiently as they can? Can we help in that regard projecting out and using people in different jobs, or on the front end, as we're looking at bidding new jobs or new projects, or if somebody is in the acquisition mode of looking at buying companies, are we including enough contingency in these bids?

If we're chasing something and we think we can make a certain percentage and then dive deep and ask questions about, "Well, what happens if something goes wrong? What happens if the commodity's pricing is escalated beyond what we can get from the client? How is that accounted for in this bid?" To some cases, we may look and say, "There's too much risk here. Maybe we don't need to take this job," or "Maybe we bid it at a higher price, and if we lose it, we lose it." If we do lose it, at least we will know that we didn't take on due risk.

I think it's looking at taking into account both historical performance and why margins either were enhanced or faded, depleted and looking to the future to see how does the history compare and relate to what we think is going to happen in the future. Then secondly, looking at new opportunities that we're chasing. Are we being really realistic as much as possible about what we think is going to happen? That's where financial people and beyond accounting is really just taking an intuitive look and putting on a different set of glasses to see, does this make sense and ask questions about-- It's putting on different hats and then thinking about things differently.

Megan: That question, "Does this make sense?" Is so important.

Bona: The other side and too is I keep getting back to networking because I think we're all in sales, especially as you move into higher levels of the company and with more responsibility, we are all in sales, even though my direct responsibility is over the finance group, but we're out there talking to people or joining different associations, whether industry groups, or functionable groups. We should all be trying to figure out how we can enhance our company's perspective and bring new clients in, or if we're running our own business, we're on sales anyway. We're trying to sell product and services. I think that's could be a different perspective for some CFOs that have not had the opportunity to get out there and try to enhance their sales and revenues.

Megan: That's great advice. Lastly, as a CFO, what is keeping you up at night right now?


Bona: What is it? I don't know. I'm not sure. All the typical answers are inflation and getting back to the supply chain. Beyond that, I think what bothers me the most is the unknown related to this pandemic and COVID and how pervasive it seems to be, and how it continues to change. Then a lot of that relates to how some folks just don't take it seriously. Whether it's in some of our families and our companies, people we know, people we see. It's just not being taken seriously. That keeps me up at night as to the short-term and long-term impact of the pandemic and COVID and both from--

Everybody either-- How do I say this? We've all known people that have had it if we haven't had it ourselves, and hopefully, we haven't known people that have had serious problems with the pandemic and COVID, but in all likelihood, we all know people that have suffered a lot. That keeps me up at night is how do we end this thing, so we can get back to something that's closer to normal and not make this the new normal. Don't make an ongoing pandemic, the normal.

Megan: Amen. I'm right there with you. Bona, thank you so much for being my guest today.

Bona: Oh, Megan, thank you. I enjoy talking to you.

Megan: I really enjoyed getting to learn a bit about you and KBD and hearing your advice for managing supply chain disruptions. Something that I wish was going away but doesn't seem to be any time soon.

Bona: That's right. All we can do is manage as well we can and lead as well as we can.

Megan: All of our listeners, thank you for tuning in. Please join me again next week for another episode. Until then, take care of yourselves.


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In this episode, we discuss leading and developing relationships, dealing with supply chain challenges, how to drive strategic value to grow revenue and margin, and more interesting topics.

Digitized Reporting & Forecasting in the Construction Industry

Quote about accounting role in supply chain disruption management

Kajima Building & Design Group is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kajima Corporation, that was founded in 1840 and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. For over fifty years, the Group has designed and constructed manufacturing, industrial, and office facilities throughout the United States. Today, it ranks amongst the top global contractors.

In Bona’s role as the executive responsible for finance, his view is historical and prospective: “where has KBD been, and where are we going?” Under his leadership, the finance function has automated and digitized reporting and forecasting and is efficiently producing information critical in running the company.

“On the accounting side, the only way we can help construct buildings is by making sure everybody gets paid. But beyond that, going and seeing these giant million square foot facilities that we build coming up and becoming a reality is key.”

Looking Beyond Numbers for Supply Chain Disruption Management

Looking beyond the numbers quote

The role of a modern CFO is not just about numbers but also about people. Leading and developing relationships benefits CFOs and the organization as a whole. It's critical to grow these relationships with people in your field and have different perspectives. It enhances the productivity and efficiency of everyone involved.

“My role is to develop relationships and enhance relationships between everyone from the accounting group with everyone else in the company”

Dealing With Supply Chain Challenges

Bona Allen, CFO, supply chain disruption management Quote

KBD Group managed supply chain disruptors by having transparent and trustful relationships with suppliers and clients. They also had the financial capacity to absorb some of the increased prices and delayed timeframes.

The same advice applies to current challenges. Start by increasing your network and developing relationships with people inside and outside your industry. Also, think about new and creative ways of doing business.

“Develop relationships so that everyone understands we're in this together”

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