ProcureTechSTARS with Malin Schmidt, Founder and CEO of Kodiak Hub
Malin Schmidt, CEO and Founder of Kodiak Hub, a cloud-based Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) platform that helps global procurement and sourcing teams to buy smarter & power sustainable supplier relationships.
During the conversation, Malin shared her thoughts on taking risks, leaning in, ‘Rise and Shine’, supplier & climate impact and caipirinhas…
1. What’s Kodiak Hub’s mission?
I founded Kodiak Hub as I was interested in enabling customers to unlock the value that resides in the supply chain and supplier relationships by applying more sustainable models.
Kodiak Hub’s mission is to create long term sustainable impact in the way suppliers are managed by continuously applying smarter, better, and more sustainable modes of operating to minimize negative impact on people and planet. We’re putting smarter SRM solutions in the hands of procurement professionals to transform the way buyers and supplier collaborate.
The company name at the start was CSV Rating, which stood for Creating Shared Value, which is where we come from. If you have a partnership, and you work in the right way together, then the value will be higher than if, for example, one party squeezes the other one on price. It’s about unlocking the value that resides in global supply chains and supplier relationships. We need to enable the big shift of transitioning from work productivity to resource efficiency and the increased complexity this will bring to Supplier Relationship Management (SRM).
In terms of our differentiation, it’s in 3 areas. Firstly, we look at data enrichments that we have sourced from third parties, as well an ecosystem of Apps to capture data that is normally lost in Excel sheets for example, within an audit, assessment, performance evaluation or RFI, where we aim to capture data easily in all types of ways. This gives users a real 360º view of suppliers driven by a rating methodology at the core.
Next, we have designed the user experience with a strong focus on intuitive user interfaces; for the buyer and supplier, alike.
“Finally, we look at value enhancement, which is focused on quality, commercials, and sustainability. We always cater for three stakeholder users on the platform; procurement and Strategic Procurement, supply quality and sustainability. I think that is what makes us unique, as well as having a strong set of value drivers around impact and getting more value out of our customers’ supplier relationships.”
2. What have been the most significant decisions in the Kodiak Hub journey so far?
Early on we designed our data architecture with data scientists to enable us to scale the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence across customers to provide bench marking insights. We capture the data in a very specific way so that in the long term, we can provide benchmarking insights across all our accounts. This helps us draw and base conclusions and train these algorithms to provide predictive analytics across the whole customer base.
The other thing is to be very picky as you recruit new members to the team; that is a hard lesson learned, and we invest a lot in our recruitment processes.
Our rebranding to Kodiak Hub has been important as we are more of a hub, we are a collaboration space for suppliers and buyers, not a ratings agency. This has been especially well received by suppliers.
3. What do you look for in the perfect customer and what do they look for in you?
“We like customers where procurement is of strategic importance and has a big business impact – for the right reasons.”
Ideal customers have complex global supply chains and their impact of quality and sustainability matters within their end delivery to their customers, but it is also embedded within their core values and is business critical.
Our ideal customers are within manufacturing or subcontractors in the automotive industry like Northvolt.
We also look for ‘strategic height’ and that they understand our view of value enhancement, have a clear category strategy, and understand the big shift that is happening in the world, such as the Paris agreement and the way companies look at materials, packaging, testing and so on. We look for insight and ambition in that area as well.
4. What are the foundations of a great team?
I don’t know if I’m getting old, but a team of mature individuals! This includes respecting someone else’s viewpoint, not being arrogant, having an open mind and separating their ego from intellect.
Then we have five core values:
- Inspire Excellence and Practice Clarity – how we communicate
- The No Problem Policy – how we approach challenges and problems
- Power of Execution – we’re in a very fast moving context, so you have to be willing to be part of that.
- Show Up and Lean in – be present. Take up things as they appear don’t push away things
- Rise and Shine – push your boundaries and don’t be afraid to expose your to risks
5. As we emerge from COVID what will you be doing differently?
We have realised the cost of acquiring new customers isn’t dependent on geo location, so we are able to scale globally quicker, as everyone pretty much has access to virtual meetings.
Kodiak Hub has strengthened its position in the UK, in the DACH region, and is now getting traction in the USA.
Our main concern is the inefficiencies in the global supply chains right now – it means our target group is scrambling to make day to day operations work, the same as all ProcureTech solutions, and have less time to build value long term within digitalization projects. We hope that this will all lighten up in 2022.
6. What is the vision for Kodiak Hub for the future and what will be most important to achieve it?
We aim to be a large, global, but still tight knit team, driven by our impact mission delivering state of the art tech and having a positive impact on global supply chains and the way sustainable trade is conducted in the world. I am always applying the latest tech, where they are fit for purpose, anything from, voice recognition during audits or text recognition to automate certain tasks on the platform, so that we continue to be in the forefront of applying those technologies.
“To be honest, instead of looking ahead to five years’ time, my driving force is about building a great company and providing a great solution to the right customers.”
7. How are you doing good for the planet?
We’re enabling three things on the platform across all types of sustainability aspects for our customers:
1 – map and assess ESG practices of their suppliers
2 – measure progress to see if they want to continue or choose another supplier
3 – work with collaborative innovation to improve the practices and the outcome
This is applicable across many subjects such as climate impact, packaging, transport, reduction of harmful chemicals and incorporating the right practices, making customers and suppliers think ‘Are we moving in the right direction? Can we do something together to really improve?’
I think we are really strong here, it’s not only about reporting and measuring, but also about actually moving the needle.
INSTANT MALIN INSPIRATION
1. What is your favourite book or blog and why?
I always come back to ‘From Good to Great’ by Jim Collins it is a classic management book that never goes out of fashion. Sam Jenks is fantastic at picking up on the latest in ProcureTech on the Kodiak Hub blog but also in the larger scheme of things such as Sustainability.
2. Who is your favourite inspirational leader and why?
I like the way Brene Brown looks at leadership – I encourage my management team to read her books especially Dare to Lead. I like the way she looks at leadership and especially the way she looks at taking risks and daring to take risks. I also like to listen to a wide range of podcasts from Harvard Business Review to www.Saastr.com.
3. What is your favourite app or piece of technology?
I think Runkeeper does the job, as well as HubSpot and Slack, both outstanding.
4. What is your favourite cocktail?
We have our innovation hub in Poland – let’s just say you need to like Vodka! I don’t like sweet things so it has to be something with lime or lemon – like a caipirinha.
5. What’s your favourite way to celebrate a success?
Celebrating every little win is super important – not to wait around for the big fish. I am not very good at celebrating as I am always onto the next thing, so I must remind myself to do so together with the team. One of the best ways I think is to share a good meal together. That usually does the trick in terms of taking in the win together with others as well as sharing a good meal. It takes self-discipline to remind yourself to celebrate!
1. Imperative to be aware of the strategic shifts that are happening in the world.
2. Strive to engage with customers that are solving complex problems.
3. Invest early in a system architecture that can scale, involve UX experts and data scientists early.
4. Designed the user experience with a strong focus on intuitive user interfaces.
5. Sustainability is now all about action and materially moving the needle.
6. Dare to lead and take risk – “daring leaders who live into their values are never silent about hard things.”
7. Power of Execution – especially in a very fast moving environment, lean in!
About Kodiak Hub
Kodiak Hub is a cloud-based Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) platform that helps global procurement and sourcing teams to buy smarter & power sustainable supplier relationships.
Kodiak Hub offers a modular suite of supplier relationship management solutions that teams can plug n’ play to capture supplier data & information, spot supply chain risks, manage contracts, categories, documents, and products, assess and audit supply chain compliance, evaluate and improve supplier performance and drive buyer-supplier innovation.
The journey towards smart and sustainable strategic sourcing starts with Kodiak Hub!
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).