We are quite excited to have invested in MP Objects. You will see that MPO is “the leading provider of cloud-based Customer Chain Control SaaS” (more on that below), works with a bunch of terrific customers, including international logistics leaders and blue chip companies such as CEVA, DSV, Geodis, eBay, IBM, Microsoft, Dow, Terex, Patagonia and Oakley, and has raised $10 million.
What you don’t see is that MPO grew almost 70% year-to-year and did so profitability, has not lost a customer in several years and was bootstrapped by its two founders who have been friends since childhood.
While CEO Martin Verwijmeren did not quite write the book on supply chain, his PhD was on smart and flexible supply chain software. And CTO Paul van Dongen took his friend’s ideas, added his own experience with complex software development and the Dutch military and built a terrific SaaS application.
What is Customer Chain Control?
Great numbers, great growth, customer validation and a strong team are the hallmarks of Updata’s growth equity investment strategy. But what exactly is “Customer Chain Control”? The term is a play off the old “supply chain management” terminology and is MPO’s way of capturing a seismic shift in the market.
- Today virtually every business from shoe stores to medical supply companies to engine turbine manufacturers recognizes that customer expectations for rapid and custom delivery are paramount. How you get your product into your customer’s hands is now as important as the product itself.
- Supply chains are getting more and more complex with multiple shipment handoffs, across multiple geographies, with rapidly changing information. According to McKinsey & Company, by the year 2020 80% of goods will be manufactured in a country different from where they are consumed.
- These new, highly dynamic and highly complex supply chains need IT systems that are as flexible as they are – cloud based vs. on premises and multi-vendor and heterogeneous vs. single vendor and homogeneous.
The shift is from a “supply chain” focus that values efficiency and automation of operations and systems to a “customer chain” focus that delivers optimization and the dynamic management of each and every unique customer order.
Serving Complex and Global Customer Demand
Think of the above with an experience you might have had recently: buying your children’s sports equipment for the new season.
Twenty years ago, we all bought our lacrosse stick, hockey skates or soccer cleats at the local department store, shoe store or sports store with a few limited choices from the major brands. If you were lucky, there might be a specialty shop in your area with a wider range of options. In my neighborhood in New York City, it was called Soccer Sport Supply and was the place to go for a real selection of cleats, jerseys and equipment.
Things Are Very Different Now for Our Children.
Today they can choose from multiple brands available from around the world. They can pick their color, customize their style and even create shoes monogramed with their names – with each shoe in a different color! And they can track their order at any given moment, make changes on the fly and route delivery to their home, to their school, to a store or other pickup location or schedule it to arrive in the middle of a tournament in another city.
This is a world of creativity, choice and instant gratification – not just for consumer goods but for every type of product, spare part or equipment.
Amazon is not winning so much business because their prices are lower, but because they can get you almost anything, anywhere overnight or in as short as a four-hour window.
The new world presents enormous IT challenges to any company that ships its goods from one place to another and to the logistics providers that serve them.
How Does MPO Fit In?
MPO’s Customer Chain Control SaaS enables companies and their customers to select the optimal sourcing and delivery path for each order based on factors such as stock availability, price levels, lead times and routing options. It creates a customer-by-customer, order-driven supply chain. MPO then manages those unique supply chain steps (e.g., packaging, instructions, shipper tracking, etc.) through every participant in the system (supplier, shipper, carrier, last mile).
And what we think is truly innovative is that MPO provides a single platform for order planning and execution that leverages existing enterprise supply chain systems (Enterprise Resource Planning, Warehouse Management Systems, Transportation Management Systems, etc.)
The result is:
- a fantastic experience – what MPO calls as a “wow experience” (a highly technical term) – that its users can now provide to their end customers.
- In financial terms, it means higher revenue for MPO customers (through more customers and more satisfied customers) and lower costs (by better management of each supply chain step).
In Summary on MPO
With MPO we have a business that checks the boxes on Updata’s growth equity strategy, addresses a huge market opportunity and delivers an innovative SaaS solution that has been validated by some of the best names in the business.
We could not be more excited to be working with Martin Verwijmeren, Paul van Dongen, our fellow board member and old friend Wim Heijting and everyone on the MPO team to help the Company achieve even more success.
Read More About MPO and Supply Chain Orchestration:
James Socas is a General Partner at Updata Partners. For more information visit www.updata.com.