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Insights From the 2022 International Business Council Annual Meeting

Chattanooga Area Chamber International Business Council held their annual meeting, sponsored by Elliott Davis and hosted by Miller & Martin.

The International Business Council celebrated Chattanooga’s growth with a panel discussion on global supply chain issues.

Mark Stewart, Senior Vice President, Senior Relationship Manager, Bank of America, began the program by introducing the incoming board members. Event moderator Mike O’Neil, Principal, Bench Builders, then welcomed three expert panelists to speak on the global supply chain issues of today: Alnoor Dhanani, President, Double Cola Company; Jon Poehnelt, CCO, Steam Logistics; Jim Richardson, Executive Vice President of Supply Chain, US Stove.

The topics touched on how supply chain shortages are impacting Chattanooga and finding the right ideas to address these shortages. Richardson touched on how US Stove stays innovative despite the seasonality of its industry and global concerns affecting the industry. Panelists also spoke on how technologies like social media and artificial intelligence may one day be used to connect supply chains around the world.

Trend spoke to Dhanani to learn more about Double Cola’s strategies to combat supply chain shortages.

From left to right: Denise Rice, Peak Performance; Cindy Painter, Houston Museum of Decorative Arts; Lulu Copeland, TN-China Network

Trend: How is Double Cola handling supply chain shortages beyond the pandemic?

Dhanani: We have to be prepared for the next phase. From my perspective, it’s about a couple of things ⁠— innovation and thinking outside the box. We have so much development in terms of technology, logistics and production. We are really looking at AI which will give us the ability to look at a particular issue in a much wider perspective than what we, at the moment are looking at… I’m really excited about technology.

Trend: What’s the silver lining behind these issues?

Dhanani: I’m completely convinced that after we fully understand the issues and thought outside the box, the new models will be amazing. I’m a bit worried that initially our costs will go up because we’re changing the whole structure of our production system. But, it will be much more stable in terms of our ability to produce goods. We will be much more secure and our customers will feel good as well that we are able to give a much wider perspective than we give today.

Trend: Will artificial intelligence save our supply chains?

Dhanani: Supply chains will exist regardless. Even if the whole model changes, we will still have to move raw materials between one place to another. I think what AI will do is raise our ability to make better decisions. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.

Trend: What makes Chattanooga a unique place for supply chain companies?

Dhanani: Chattanooga is unique because there’s a confluence between the civic leadership, political leadership and business leadership that all work together. We had some very wise people that made a 20-year plan which is evolving. The Chamber is so involved with programs like Chattanooga Climbs… I think if our leadership continues to work together, we will grow into bigger and better things.

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