ProcureTechSTARS with Jithendra Palasagaram

ProcureTechSTARS with Jithendra Palasagram, CEO and Founder of Part Analytics

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Jithendra Palasagaram, CEO and Founder of Part Analytics, an AI-powered supply management solution enabling smarter data-driven decision making to optimize cost and uncover hidden supply risk for manufacturing companies.

During the conversation, Jithendra discussed reducing pain, customer focus, commerce platforms, Jack Welch and Masters of Scale.

1. What’s Part Analytics’ mission?

Part Analytics’ mission to make supply management less painful for manufacturing companies.

They have to deal with multiple disparate systems across sourcing, engineering and external partners, where it becomes difficult to get internal information to do their day-to-day job. Whether it’s tier 1 or 2 suppliers, multiple tiers and traditional ways throughout the supply chain have made it very difficult for manufacturing companies to navigate these systems easily.

“We see a world where these different trading partners can collaborate easily on a standard commerce platform and leverage all this data coming from different sources to get relevant insights for a specific role or task.”

For example, we help the commodity managers manage product, sourcing and production teams easily to get the information they need.

Our differentiation is we’ve built this for manufacturing companies. Given our background, we bring a lot of domain experience in the space, working for large fortune 50 companies and I’ve seen first-hand the challenges all the way from new product introduction to production.

The way we’ve laid our platform out makes it easy for users within large organisations and manufacturing companies to use to get the relevant information they need, where we’ve built out modules to match the workflows for the users. You don’t need a lot of training, onboarding or implementation, so it’s intuitive and easy to use. They can get up and running in a few days, nor do they need to spend three months implementing our technology. So that’s been really great for us, even with complex processes. We can get up and running quickly, because we can configure to specific templates for customers. They don’t need to change their processes. We can adapt our position for their process and then get the data registered and help them.

Like any other company, we really pride ourselves on the customer service. We are very responsive and agile, so every two weeks or so, we have new releases and as a result of listening to customer feedback. We’re always developing.

2. What have been the most significant decisions in the Part Analytics journey so far?

I remember when we released our first product in late 2019, right at the beginning of COVID emerging, where there was a lot of chaos in the market and no one was buying anything, or they were deciding what to do.

Since then, we have seen significant growth. We started off by focusing on large companies because that’s our team’s background. But we soon realised that some of these problems and challenges were also experienced by smaller companies, so we leveraged our solution to help them as it’s very easy to use. Initially we focused on OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) as target customers, but then we expanded to tier 1 suppliers. They were using their software to negotiate with their suppliers or buy parts. From there, we expanded our user base, and we now have significant partners and investors in Part Analytics that are experienced in this space.

People that have invested in SAP Ariba or other solutions, partner and invest in us which really helps us in terms of scaling.

3. What do you look for in the perfect customer?

We thrive on complexity – that’s what we came from.

“The more complex the customer is, the more value they get from our solutions because we make it really simple to collaborate internally in large global companies with a lot of complexity.”

We make it easy to collaborate with the supplier as well. We bring all this data together into one place to get the context of insights. The context is one of the things we look for, and the maturity as well. There are different sourcing maturity levels within organisations and where they are in that journey.

Typically, what we look for in our customers is someone who is looking to change the way they do things and they understand that they have a problem. We tend to work with those kinds of folks to really drive organisational change because it’s a different way of doing things than what they used to.

4. What are the foundations of a great team?

We have grown significantly! We’ve doubled our team size over the last couple months, and we’ll probably do that in the next 12 months again and adding senior key leadership roles.

I think one of the key values we look for in team members is action.

Given the state the world is in, we provide action for our customers. Large companies tend to struggle with a lot of internal bureaucracy and slow processes, whereas we focus on integrating feedback in our processes and acting on it to improve our product, as well as provide a great service for our customers.

Also, being open minded, as well as incorporating feedback from different avenues to build a better customer experience helps create a great team.

5. As we emerge from COVID what will you be doing differently?

We have been pretty much a remote since we started because we have distributed teams around the world, so we haven’t really changed that. It works for us, so we’ll continue and do whatever works well for our team members. If they want to meet in person, we’re happy to do that, but right now, everyone is happy to work remotely and that’s what we’re doing.

6. What is the vision for Part Analytics in the future?

I mentioned earlier that our vision is to be the comprehensive platform for the manufacturing industry, tackling different trade partners or different players all the way from the OEM, to contract manufacturers or tier 1 and 2 suppliers, by bringing them together and provide a platform they can collaborate on with the data and contextual insights they need, within the value or supply chain.

We will continue to add capabilities to our platform, where we’ll be laser-focused on different models, materials and manufacturing.

To achieve this, we’ll continue to scale our team and follow the values I mentioned previously, making sure we don’t lose speed and innovation as we work closely with our customers. We have a vision and roadmap of where we want to go, but our customers play a big part in that where we listen to their feedback and make them a part of the journey.

It’s not just like a buyer-supplier relationship. It’s more about delivering value and helping them with their process and making their lives easier.

7. How are you doing good for the planet?

I know there are initiatives looking at ESG and carbon capture and things like that, but we don’t have capabilities to do that as there are other providers that do that so we might partner with them to help with that. Further down the line, that is something we can refine, but now we are focused on other key customer priorities.

INSTANT JITHENDRA INSPIRATION

1. What is your favourite book or blog?

I prefer to list to podcasts like Masters of Scale and This Week in Startups. Being a startup founder, they help me think about how to scale Part Analytics.

 
 
2. Who is your favourite inspirational leader?

I don’t have one specific person, but I try to pick up something every day from the people I work with. I liked Jack Welch as I was growing up, but it’s evolved over time so I am inspired by the people around me.

3. What is your favourite app or piece of technology?

I use LinkedIn a lot!

4. What’s your favourite way to celebrate a success?

When we have a contract or customer worth celebrating, we’ll have a virtual drink as we’re remote! We also meet quarterly and celebrate then!

5. What is your favourite cocktail?

A classic: an Old Fashioned.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

1. Don’t just see your customers as a transaction – get their feedback and work closely with them to deliver value.

2. Thrive on complexity to help your customers be more successful.

3. Continue evolving: focus on customer service to be better for the next customer.

4. Be open, collaborate, innovate and continue adding to your capabilities at speed.

5. A focus on action allows you to help clients with inefficient processes and bureaucracy.

6. Act upon what your team (and investors) do best – use their background and drive forward.

7. Have a clear vision and be very focused on your customer, segment and use cases – go deep through the supply chain

About Part Analytics

Part Analytics is a venture-backed startup focused on transforming direct material procurement by digitizing manual processes and harmonizing data from multiple disparate sources. Its AI-powered supply management solution with a modern and intuitive UI enables smarter data-driven decision making to optimize cost and uncover hidden supply risk.

About ProcureTechSTARS

Our industry is moving forward faster and faster, empowered by innovative, progressive digital procurement solutions created and led by inspiring teams. ProcureTechSTARS are the digital procurement company CEOs and Founders that are leading the change, they are entrepreneurs, engineers and architects collaborating to transform procurement and the enterprise. In an open conversation with these leaders Lance Younger will be discussing the highs and lows of building the future now, the challenges they’ve faced, their perspective on accelerators and hot topics, and what keeps getting them up in the morning (and keeps them up at night).

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