UK Vape Industry Set To Change?

The vape industry has grown into a massive industry since its introduction and now the global vape market is worth an estimated £15.5bn. The biggest markets are the United Kingdom, United States, France and Germany. It may now be growing at a slightly slower rate than when it first started but the industry is still expected to grow, particularly as specialised vape products become more readily available and with the recent ban of menthol cigarettes. 

Are Vape Shops Becoming Saturated? 

In the UK, whichever high street you decide to visit, you are guaranteed to come across at least one vape shop. Most of the bigger shopping centre owners also now allow vape shops to operate within them. This is great for vapers because they can easily access their vape items and never have to worry about being without them. This has also made it cheaper to vape. As the competition has increased, prices have fallen and a lot of vape shops are now happy to operate with smaller margins. For example, you can now get 100ml e-liquid bottles for as cheap as £5.00 with brands such as Six Licks 50/50 being low price, high quality options. This is a natural process that always occurs when a market becomes saturated and its great for consumers but not necessarily for vape shops and businesses. 

When a market is saturated, business owners operating within it must decide whether to drop their prices or hold their margins. The same applies to vape shops. Although every vape shop will have its own unique expenses, the long term survival of these shops will be determined by if they can sustain high margins whilst maintaining competitive prices. Customers still need to see they are getting good value money. Individual vape shops will never be as busy as the likes of Tesco or Sainsburys. This is what makes margin even more important. They need to take all their costs and expenses into consideration and then apply a margin that covers all them on a quieter day with a bit left over. Vape shops that operate on smaller margins may survive in the shorter term but not in the longer term. 

What’s Next? 

The general high street downturn, the Brexit crisis and the government imposed COVID-19 lock down would have taken a toll on some vape shops, particularity those that solely rely on their B&M shops as a source of revenue. The likelihood now is that you will see some of them close down and cease operations. The shops that have an online presence and that have expanded their operations outside of their shops will more than likely continue to see growth. However, this growth will see bumps and downward pressure at times as the UK economy is about to enter one of the biggest recessions on record. Whilst users of e-cigarettes are addicted to the nicotine within e-liquids, some can and will economise when times get financially tough. 

The Online Retail Vape Market 

It is no secret that the high street in the UK is losing a battle against online retailers. Online retailers have lower fixed costs and people in the UK like the convenience of shopping online. For vape businesses, the online vape market is just as saturated as the shops on the high street. However, the number of people shopping online has increased and you can reach customers nationally and internationally. The same applies to most retail businesses. However, to be successful online, you need to spend thousands to increase your presence and to ensure your website is optimised. This can potentially take years and therefore it’s not as easy as it appears. There is far more to it than just simply packing parcels and dispatching them. 

Conclusion Just like every other industry, the vape market is following the natural trends and processes that most other retail industries follow. The likelihood going forward is that you’ll see the overall industry grow in the UK with fewer of the shops around as the market attempts to level itself out. However, fewer shops doesn’t necessarily mean it will be any less convenient for vapers. They may find one vape shop on a high street rather than two or three with another one within 2-3 miles.   

Business Planning Services at their Best

As businesses become more complex and interconnected, the need for more sophisticated systems has become increasingly obvious. The team at Exceedra understand exactly what a modern business requires, providing exceptional work in the field of integrated business planning and revenue management systems for CPG. As we continue to showcase example of Corporate Excellence, we turn our attention to Exceedra, named as Most Outstanding Business Planning Solution, 2020 – USA.

For the last two decades, Exceedra has grown from a small integrated business planning company, opera ting primarily in the UK into an award-winning, multi-national organization. It is hard work, business acumen and innovative thinking that has transformed this company into such an amazing success.

When it comes to integrated business planning and revenue management systems, the team at Exceedra have made the process as straightforward as possible. A modular approach gives clients the ability to make their system work for them, allowing businesses to draw on an impressive range of capacity and sophistication. The range includes Trade Promotion Management (TPM), Trade Promotion Optimization (TPO), Trade Promotion Management Foodservice, Customer Business Planning (CBP), Joint Business Planning (JBP), Demand Planning, Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) and Retail Execution. It allows companies to have support when they need it, in these key areas.

Often, the companies that turn to Exceedra for assistance need a little more help to find the best possible solution and the team have become adept at understanding the needs and demands of each customer, so that the right solution can be established. Not only do businesses find an impressive level of customer service with Exceedra, but they are given a roadmap that provides guidance on how best to allow the system to mature with the company. This highly capable and easy to use solution is the secret behind the team’s impressive success.

In order to achieve success, Exceedra’s software is designed specifically to provide immediate benefits to a business, not only in terms of capacity, but with regards to speed and efficiency in the planning and execution process. What clients receive is not just the software, but the knowledge of how to leverage that software to their advantage.

Although it boasts humble beginnings in the United Kingdom, offices in the US and Australia ensure that Exceedra has a truly international attitude. Not content with exploring the possibilities of Great Britain and Northern Island, the team have been planning the most effective way of disrupting the global market. The aim is ambitious, but straightforward, focusing on becoming the de facto solution for integrated business planning and revenue management for consumer goods companies worldwide.

E-commerce has made an incredible difference to the way in which this market runs, and Exceedra has had to adapt not only to the new big names in the industry, but the ease with which people are able to join it. Exceedra has made its business in adapting to new ways of working, and is already striving to make improvements to its products that will help clients to combat these challenges. The pressures that clients face are mirrored in the roadmap that Exceedra provides, and ensuring that their roadmap is always accurate keeps the company grounded.

Looking forward, the Exceedra team plans to focus on customer value generation, looking for ways in which it can maintain its position as the leading global provider of purpose-built software to the food distribution industry. This process has already begun, with the company well on the way to delivering real value in TPM and IBP, thanks to the introduction of machine learning.

Finding new ways to work has been key to the success of Exceedra, and it’s a way of operating that has opened new possibilities for this impressive company. It’s what has allowed them to achieve such incredible success.

Contact: Chris Rice

Website: http://www.exceedra.com

Email: [email protected]

Increase Profits in Your New Business

Starting your own business is the dream for many people. Once you are ready to take the plunge, you want to do everything possible to be profitable. With many new operations failing, it is easy to get discouraged and think that any small venture is doomed. That is not true, there are many successful small businesses and more open every day. Thinking with a plan in mind, rather than allowing emotion to take over, can give yours a chance to thrive.

Delay Taking a Salary for Yourself

Most are actually not successful right away. If you go into business thinking it will sustain you from day one, you decrease your odds of success. Lowering your costs and boosting your savings before you take the plunge can help increase your odds of success. One way to lower your monthly expenses is to refinance your student loans. Use an online student loan refinance calculator to see how much you could save by refinancing your student loans. The process is simple and can free up money in your budget.

Don’t Skimp on Marketing

Many new business owners plan a big splash for their opening but may back away from spending after the initial open. Set a realistic marketing budget so that you can develop, implement, and maintain a consistent marketing plan through the early stages of your business. In today’s competitive marketplace, you cannot afford to ignore social media. This is also an area that is easy to do poorly. Customers have access to your social media and can complain about the slightest problem. Reactionary responses, deletions, and other bad behavior will not go unnoticed. Hiring an outside firm to take on your social media management can be beneficial in building and maintaining your company as a respected brand.

Training Matters

When you work for someone else, training is generally part of the package. You may be expected to attend conferences, read industry materials, and generally keep up to date on what is going on in your industry. Any certifications will probably be paid for by your employer. When you run your own business, you take on this responsibility not only for yourself but for your employees as well. This is not an area to skimp on, and it can be more costly and time-consuming than you planned on. One advantage of running a small business is that you are more flexible and more able to pivot to the changing tides of economy, consumer preference, and other factors than larger operations. To take advantage of these benefits you need to have well-trained employees, so no one needs their hand held through the ebbs and flows of working for a new business.

Hold on To Existing Customers

Providing additional services to existing customers is a great way to boost your profits. Once you have a satisfied customer, keeping them and upselling them costs less than finding new customers. Think carefully about the products or services you offer. What could you add that your existing, satisfied customers may want? Providing options to your existing, happy customers allows you to maximize your profits.

Business Security at its Best

Based in Hampshire, Dacha Security Solutions Ltd are a leading provider of security systems to the leisure and commercial industries across the UK. Following on from their success in the Corporate Excellence Awards 2020, we got in touch with Tim Edmonds to find out more.

As a family-run business, Dacha Security Solutions Ltd have been offering bespoke security systems and ‘off the shelf’ solutions to suit the requirements of their clients since 2009. To start, Tim offers more insight into the firm’s specialisms and its existing client base.

“The team at Dacha are specialists in protecting and enhancing our customers businesses and operations. As recognised experts in the installation and maintenance of CCTV, access control, visitor

management, meeting room management, car park management and intruder systems, we are well equipped to handle most things that are thrown at us. In addition, with our innovative approach to integration and linking these systems alongside other BIM systems, we are able to give customers useful data and information at their fingertips.”

“Traditionally, we have worked within the leisure sector, but the last few years has seen us take a chunk of the logistics and public sectors as well. Our approach to new business is driven by our leadership team, who are fastidious about looking in to serving a new industry. Collectively, we need to know and understand the companies, their challenges and their opportunities to be able to offer them our unique service. Only when we are confident in our knowledge in that sector can we even think about approaching clients.”

Since forming in 2009, Dacha’s approach to their clients has always been to treat each one individually, assessing what kind of security system they would gain most from. Tim added “While some companies can get stuck in a rut pushing out the same system time and time again, we understand that each one of our customers has a completely different set of threats and opportunities and by taking these into account, we can help them drive their businesses forward. It is truly our passion and innovation that makes us stand clear of others.”

Although the firm have endured success delivering security systems to their clients, in the early days this wasn’t the case across Europe, particularly in relation to the leisure sector as Tim goes on to explain. “The firm’s biggest challenge is one that has shaped the way we approach new business. Our unique and vast knowledge of the leisure industry meant we were the experts in Europe for a reason. However, this was a challenge to our growth plans as we felt it would be difficult to replicate how we work with our customers in other industries. The decision was made to focus our efforts on a single new vertical at a time and to really learn it before we took on new customers. How we have overcome this challenge has certainly helped define our growth strategy.”

As a business, Dacha aim to deliver a quality service to their customers, with every member of staff collaborating to achieve one goal. As Tim goes on to explain, by going that extra mile, the firm deliver what they have promised “We’re a team of self-starting, mission-driven individuals with a passion for purposeful innovation and going that extra mile. Throughout the team, we are lucky to have an over-riding principle that we all believe in – which is to deliver quality unrivalled service at a fair price for our customers.”

Like many others, the staff at Dacha have an integral role to play in the success of the business and as Tim points out without their staff’s contributions, they wouldn’t be the renowned firm they are today in the security industry. “Our staff are key to every decision we make, every job we do and every customer interaction we have. In addition, keeping our staff well trained and happy is further integral to achieving Dacha’s goal, and something we continually do and strive to improve upon.”

In regard to recruitment, staff retention is clearly something the firm feel quite strongly about and as Tim goes on to explain, a candidate’s career aspirations must be considered prior to offering any kind of position. “We take a leading approach to growing our team. Rather than looking at a candidate and just their experience we try to get to understand the individual who wants to become a part of our journey. As a firm we place a heavy emphasis on career development, so we need to be the right fit for them and vice versa.”

Finally, Tim commented on the future of the firm and the plans that are in place for the coming year and beyond. “Going forward, whilst we have been great at delivering our solutions and services, we haven’t been great at shouting about it. With a recent restructure we have a new sales strategy with a clear message about what we do and why, to bring new customers into our excellent fold. As we continue to grow rapidly, we will be on the lookout for innovators and disruptors to join us on our journey!”

Company Name: Dacha Security Solutions Ltd

Contact Name: Tim Edmonds

Telephone Number: 0333 344 5526

Address: 6 Pedlars Walk, Ringwood, Hampshire, BH24 1EZ

Web Address: www.dacha-uk.com

Finding New Solutions

A market leader in deep and dark web cyber threat intelligence, Sixgill helps Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, governments and law enforcement agencies to address a wide range of cybersecurity challenges. Recently recognized by Corporate Vision as 2020’s Best Automated CTI Platform Provider, we profiled the company to discover more about the award-winning firm.

Since their inception, Sixgill has been providing one of the broadest coverages of exclusive-access deep and dark web sources, as well as relevant surface web sources by using an agile and automatic collection methodology. The firm was originally founded with the objective of automating the threat intelligence cycle in order to help prevent cyberattacks or mitigate their damage, whilst significantly reducing the time analysts and investigators spend in trying to decipher and protect against these attacks. Today, these objectives Sixgill was founded on are still relevant to the firm.

Based in both Israel and the United States, Sixgill utilizes artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate the production cycle of cyber intelligence, focusing specifically on any relevant threats operating in underground sources. Additionally, the firm’s cyber threat solution focuses more on the organization’s intelligence needs, helping them to mitigate risk.

Working primarily with large financial organizations, such as banks and insurance companies, Sixgill also works alongside MSSPs who service smaller companies. The majority of the larger financial organizations have been the early adapters, and are well equipped with threat intelligence analysts for whom the Sixgill platform is designed.

Offering both the platform itself, which is tailored for the needs of analysts and investigators, Sixgill also provides actionable alerts that have been geared for a second tier of analysts that are more interested in having the intelligence provided to them in terms of alerts from which they can decide to investigate further if required.

Working within an industry which is always growing and developing due to advancements in technology is a constant challenge every company within the sector faces. For instance, threat intelligence is a subset of cybersecurity, but one that is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. As for how Sixgill overcomes these changes whilst remaining ahead of the competition, is by focusing on threat intelligence that is emanating from exclusive dark and deep web sources and in that regard, has the most robust and comprehensive coverage of dark web sources.

In addition to this, the talented team at Sixgill also uniquely analyzes the dark web as a social network and provides a threat intelligence picture based on the activities and connections of the threat actors. If this wasn’t enough to stand out amongst their competitors, Sixgill is also one of the only companies to collect and analyze images that are being posted on these exclusive sites.

As a growing company with 35 individuals employed, each team member at Sixgill is a major player in the success of the business. Whilst there is a corporate hierarchy, everyone has access to everyone, including the CEO, all voices are heard and ideas and initiative are promoted.

As for what the rest of 2020 holds for the firm, Sixgill is a expanding company with plans in the pipeline to grow later this year. The company just completed its second round of funding of $15 million. Currently, the firm are in recruiting mode – aiming to attract the very best talent in the industry to join the dynamic business and be part of something truly unique.

Although the majority of Sixgill’s employees are based at the firm’s Israeli headquarters, the company does have a growing office in the United States. Which is why, growing forward, the plans are to continue to growing their team in all of their offices and to expand on their offerings. Ultimately, Sixgill continues to stand out in terms of being recognized as a leader in the industry – something they will continue to build upon in the years to come.

Contact: Laurie Ben-Haim

Address: Derech Menachem Begin 132, Azrieli Tower, Triangle Building, 42nd Floor, Tel Aviv, 6701101 , Israel

Telephone: +972527831911

Web Address: www.cybersixgill.com

Old Grazing Systems Put Out to Pasture

Founded by Ollie Roberts, a dairy farmer by trade, Pasture.io is a pasture management platform designed to allow fellow farmers within the Australian dairy industry a place to fully utilise their pasture measuring data for making the best grazing decisions. Following their recent success in Corporate Vision’s 2020 Corporate Excellence Awards, we profiled the unique platform to discover more about one of the most innovative pasture management solutions.

There is a huge lost opportunity in livestock grazing systems due to farmers making decisions of where to graze their livestock without known information. Pasture.io is a revolutionary platform which provides this information automatically using satellites and local weather information. By using this, farmers can best manage their pastures and do a better job in looking after their animals. Being able to fully utilise the data that the farmers have at their disposal means that they are able to increase their productivity and profitability.

Pasture’s values haven’t changed since they were established. They hold strong principles in their goals of doing business. Ultimately, they want their customers to succeed and this is  driven by their personal connections to the land and their broader quest in feeding the world in a cost-effective and sustainable manner.

Pasture’s successes are down to the pragmatic and fun way they tackle the issues that their customers deal with daily. They are also very experienced in dealing with these issues first-hand. The problem of pasture management first arose on their Founder and CEO’s own family dairy farm. They use these direct experiences in order to know exactly what their customers want and how to approach any issues that they encounter.

Their client base is predominantly made up of farmers with livestock that graze pasture. They also have broader distribution channels which are up of consultants, service providers, and large corporate farming entities. In 2014, the company has able to increase their customer base by converting their program into a web- based one, and four years later were able

to further widen their net by being able to overcome the limitations of satellite imagery. This meant that they were able to deliver their results automatically.

Employees at Pasture.io all remotely and rarely see each other face to face. This has proven to be a successful model for the business as it allows them the freedom to work autonomously, take responsibility, use initiative and to find a good work-life balance. Their company culture is relaxed and fun and this leads to everybody getting stuck in to any unexpected or urgent problems arise. Pasture.io take great pride in the way they approach their work and challenge themselves. Throughout the years, Pasture.io have been able to foster a free and empathetic workplace culture, which has been crucial in the success of the company.

Each staff member plays a significant role in the success of the company. Mostly, the roles consist of customer success and a long-term focus on developing and fostering strategic relationships. There is a lot of overlap between many of the different divisions of the company. This is a very positive thing because it enables everyone to develop an understanding of what every aspect of the business does. As the business continues to grow, this understanding helps the staff to prioritise their tasks.

Currently, Pasture.io does a lot of outsourcing. By doing things this way, the business can headhunt the best people who they fit with and importantly it gives new recruits the opportunity to fit work out if they fit with them. They source recruitments worldwide, and in essence, they believe this is how they can scale their workforce with highly skilled, capable and friendly people.

The market that Pasture’s target audience operates in has had a very tough time of late. However, the silver lining of this is that they can use Pasture.io’s services for a multiple of 40 on their return on investment with them. The tough side for Pasture.io is that cost-cutting measures can sometimes be pushed harder than profit drivers in tight terms. Recently however, the tide has started to turn. The price of goods is up and the customer base is optimistic for the future.

Pasture.io have some big developments that they have coming up. One of these is the release of a Version 2.0 service. They are saying goodbye to their legacy problem and are moving on to the most advanced user experience in the field for their services.

Contact: Ollie Roberts

Company: Pasture.io Pty Ltd

Web Address: https://pasture.io

Brilliance in Hotel Booking

Organising corporate travel is no easy task, requiring the highest quality, often at short notice. Bringing a clarity to complex systems, ehotel AG has been a pioneer when it comes to keeping business travellers on track. It’s no surprise that this hardworking team has won the award for Germany’s Best Hotel Booking Platform for Business Travellers – 2020 in this year’s Corporate Excellence awards. We take a closer look in this month’s issue of Corporate Vision to find out more.

For the last nineteen years, ehotel has been a one-stop-shop for all business travellers. Directly targeted at corporate users, it’s no surprise that they have become increasingly adept at handling the varied and specific requests that these travellers make of their bookers. Their continued success, however, demonstrates clearly how the  approach that the team has taken is paying off.

At the heart of ehotel is something more potent than its rivals. Not   content with targeting the business user, the team make use of sophisticated meta search technology in order to deliver the widest range of accommodation possible, combined with impressive rates. There are almost seven million offers available on the site, with six hundred reservation systems, processed and presented through ehotel in a clear and understandable way. Finding a service that is able to present this much information with such ease is truly exceptional and the reason why using ehotel is not just a sure-fire way to discover a great night’s sleep, but it’s a way in which costs can be reduced and employee satisfaction increased.

The company’s commitment to innovation does not end there, with the proprietary central payment and billing solution making the challenges of invoicing easy. All the systems at ehotel are designed to work together, meaning that the best rates, manage payment and correct VAT invoicing can all be found in one place. Needless to say, the automation    of this process has delighted accounts teams across the world, saving them time and improving the adoption rate of company internal booking procedures and travel policy.

Of course, the perpetual challenge for business users is that of VAT – ehotel has worked tirelessly to improve and integrate the problems of reclaiming this into its billing solution. Currently,  corporate  customers are able to get an invoice with separate VAT in 22 European countries, and this can be reclaimed by ehotel on behalf of their clients. The next phase of this project will see the same principles being applied to the USA, with plans already afoot for this endeavour.

Hotels are able to feel the benefit of ehotel’s exciting approach to the industry. For those accommodations looking to secure additional sales and a higher occupancy rate, ehotel is well equipped to recommend and put in place systems that will keep business travellers coming back for more.

ehotel also find ways in which these hotels can better serve the needs of business travellers. This is just another way in which the travellers and the hotel are able to benefit from the considerable experience that ehotel has to offer. A reduced ehotel corporate rate allows hotels to access flexible booking conditions, as well as free extra services. Making use of all of the opportunities that ehotel presents couldn’t be simpler,  with independent hotels having direct and easy access to its ehotel extranet, thus enabling them to control their own data and availability. For those organisations that boast a GDS connection such as DHISCO, Pegasus UltraDirect or Amadeus, it is incredibly easy to make a property visible on ehotel at the touch of a button.

Serving the business traveller means that the team at ehotel must find and uphold the highest data security standards possible. The team has adapted quickly to ensure that each of their clients is not only safe and comfortable, but feels it too. This process has been the same since the beginning of the company, when ehotel  used  traditional  methods to communicate with customers and hotels. Nowadays, the business boasts a unique and certified security mechanism, PCI-DSS certification in order to guarantee the ultimate in data security. Trust has always been paramount to the success of ehotel, and the team has worked hard to ensure that it continues to have an impressive level of goodwill.

At the heart of the ehotel model is the ability to provide hotel bookings and related services in its totality for business customers, and this comes right back to the formidable amount of experience that its talented team possesses. The once-innovative WAP technology of 2000 saw the beginning of the company, transforming into the business’s integrated payment and settlement solution in 2006. Constantly looking forward to the next big development is just one of the factors that has guided the company into new and exciting territory. This continual drive is how the business has been not only able to innovate, but to grow into the world’s largest hotel content holder. The corporate culture encourages the innovative and entrepreneurial activities of its employees, which benefits the company and its users in equal measure.

For those who work at ehotel, the importance of an entrepreneurial attitude has given the company an impressive amount of flexibility in the way that it operates. There are always opportunities available for those who have ideas that can be implemented to the betterment of the company. New innovations and suggestions from the team are treated with equal importance, assessed by risk management and ultimately all will play a part in influencing the decision-making process. Success can be found when a new project is positively introduced.

Currently, ehotel has its eyes on the future, with its growth causing constant work to ensure that its systems are operating at peak efficiency. The need to close the last system gaps for companies in travel booking in order to offer a complete digital cycle has become ever more pressing and is a priority for the coming months. Similarly, the team has generated exciting plans that will ehotel take its place as an aggregator in hotel distribution. This will create considerable savings potential for companies who use the new ehotel digital processes, especially when it comes to travel expense accounting and hotel services.

In all, it’s no surprise that the team at ehotel have managed to achieve great things. The commitment to entrepreneurial innovation is to their credit and has allowed them to advance swiftly in changing times. Secure, safe and carefully targeted at the business traveller who wants something done easily, swiftly and effectively, the reasons behind ehotel’s success are clear. This award is just another amazing achievement for an amazing company.

Contact: Christoph Metz

Website: www.ehotelag.com

First Class Supply Chain

Supply chain specialist, Titan Solutions, structures and delivers bespoke programmes that are tailored to clients’ specific needs. We speak to Director of Services, Julian Carroll, in the wake of the company being awarded the prestigious accolade of Ireland’s Most Innovative Supply Chain Technology Firm – 2020.

Originally established as a single point of contact between shipping providers and businesses, Titan Solutions’ dedicated network of partners not only ensures that clients’ supply chain solutions that are structured and organised, but it has also evolved to include programmes and technologies to unite the entire supply chain from start to finish. Julian tells us more.

“We work with clients all around the world to provide simple solutions to complex supply chain issues and equip their businesses with the processes they need for future growth,” he begins.

“With our deep industry knowledge and operations expertise we provide targeted outsourced programmes that pinpoint and correct supply chain weaknesses, thus releasing trapped business value through better margins, reduced capital and improved service performance.

“At Titan Solutions, we serve a wide range of customers spanning hi-technology, medical devices, retail and industrial sectors with consulting and managed outsourced programs. We employ consultative engagement whereby we educate our customers in supply chain performance measurement, analysis and improvement relative to their industry peers, before identifying performance gaps for Titan improvement programs. In addition to this, we target all areas of supply chain that contribute to free cash flow and business value.”

Julian describes the company’s ethos and what it strives to offer its clients to ensure customer satisfaction each and every time.

“Our value proposition is that we leverage our deep industry and supply chain expertise, as well as innovative technology and partners to improve customers supply chains and deliver company-wide value.

“Our mission is to elevate customer supply chain performance to the upper quartile of their industry peers, delivering tangible business value in the process for customers and Titan stakeholders.

“Our key values are our honesty and professionalism along with our uncompromising focus on customer service.”

Industry statistics continue to highlight the widening gap between those leading companies that excel at supply chain management and the laggards, those companies that are under performing their industry peers on a number of critical performance measures. Titan analysts are available without obligation to help decipher the numbers and plot a route to improved supply chain performance. Julian touches on just what sets the firm apart from competitors in the same industry space.

“We employ cutting edge technology platforms to transform how customers operate their supply chains today. The way we connect these various technology platform ensure complete end to end system connectivity from store front to last mile delivery, and returns and support manufacturing and distribution services, including e-commerce.

“Our technology platforms include: Titan Design (Network Design and Optimisation); Titan Inventory (Inventory Optimisation); Titan Transport (connected multi-carrier TMS ecosystem); Titan Warehouse (scalable cloud-based WMS); and Titan Analytics (integrated BI analytical functionality).

“Depending upon the particular requirements of our customer, these platforms may be employed separately or as an integrated solution set providing complete end to end supply chain visibility and control.”

It’s not all about the technology, however, and Julian is quick to sing the praises of the dedicated and hard-working staff members who serve Titan Solutions.

“We recognise and value the contribution of our staff and ensure they share in the continuing success of our business through competitive and flexible employment contracts, work life balance, and progressive reward systems. In addition we are mindful of issues that are important to our employees, their local communities and our customers and actively promote environmentally friendly supply chain practices at every opportunity.

“Ours is a ‘can do’ culture employing professional well educated multidisciplinary teams that know and understand how to plan customer engagements and deliver change. We continue to draw seasoned professionals to us with the lure of our exciting customer programs, fantastic technology and career development and support programs.

“Like everyone else we recognise the importance of recruitment to our continuing business success. As we continue to gain international brand recognition, we are seeing considerable interest in our company as reflected in the volumes of traffic to our web site and on LinkedIn. Also, we employ recruitment companies to assist on an ongoing basis.”

With the current COVID-19 outbreak taking its toll on a number of business and professions, the pandemic illustrates the essential role of supply chain. During this time of great stress and uncertainty, innovators, such as Titan, facilitate the flow of essential medical, food and other essential supplies, despite the unprecedented logistical challenges posed by the virus and efforts to contain its spread.

With regards to the future, Julian foresees challenges along the way, ultimately culminating in continued success. He concludes:

“While there is great excitement about the technologies coming our way, there are still some time off from broad based industry application. Meanwhile, there are ample opportunities to help customers reduce costs, reduce inventory levels, scale foot prints to match their revenue profiles and of course address the continuing problem of too much inventory. Our technology platforms play a crucial role here with attractive paybacks and the means to take advantage of the digital supply chain into the future.

“Our immediate focus right now is our continuing roll-out of integrated BI Analytics which is completely revolutionizing how we communicate supply chain and business performance to our customers. Our integrated analytics, coupled with end to end supply chain visibility and control tower support has propelled us to our top supply chain innovation ranking.”

Contact Details

Company: Titan Solutions

Web Address: www.titansolutions.ie

Supply Chain Technology at its Best

In a rapidly globalised world, the importance of supply chains has become increasing obvious. Ensuring that perishable goods and time sensitive freights get to their destinations is imperative. Offering a solution to these logistical challenges are the team at MPO, the world’s only natively unified cloud platform for multi-party supply chain orchestration. Having earned the title of Most Influential Leader in Supply Chain Technology 2020 – USA in Corporate Vision’s Corporate Excellence Awards, we look more closely at the company to find out more.

Founded by Martin Verwijmeren and Paul Van Dongen, MPO started with a strong background in the supply chain industry. Both men had worked for impressive qualifications; Martin has a PhD in Distributed Systems for Integral Inventory Management and Paul holds a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and Management Science and specializes in system architecture and software design.

The simple aim of MPO (a SaaS platform for Supply Chain Orchestration) was to allow businesses to better manage the needs of modern industry pressures and challenges, but the result has grown into a phenomenon all its own. Hundreds of manufacturers, distributors, retailers and logistics service providers now leverage this SaaS platform to offer their global customers greater service options, faster delivery, reliable performance, and lower costs.

With the rapid growth of the internet, Martin and Paul quickly realized the market landscape and supply chain were undergoing significant changes. As businesses expanded their markets internationally to meet growing customer demands, they also began outsourcing specialized services like manufacturing, distribution, and logistics. To stay competitive, businesses were forced to produce high-quality, diverse products at a lower cost and with faster and more delivery options. The technology of the time was far too rigid to meet these customer demands profitably, so businesses often had to choose between better customer service and lower operational costs.

The answer, as Martin and Paul saw it, was in the cloud. MPO is a cloud- based SaaS platform and an innovative technology that gives businesses the tools they need to rise to the challenge, and better manage their global multi-enterprise business networks. Instead of having to compromise on either customer service or operational costs, the MPO platform allows businesses to have it both ways and consistently deliver on the perfect order.

MPO has since become the backbone of support to some of the world’s leading brands. The platform empowers businesses to innovate and consistently deliver an outstanding customer experience, while maximizing operational excellence. It manages this effortlessly, with a focus on flexibility of operation and an infinitely configurable approach. There are no practical volume limits, which opens many opportunities for business development.

What the platform also offers is its own unique array of capabilities. Multi-Level Order Management, Multi-Leg Transportation Management, and Multi-Tier Inventory Management are just some of the options available to clients using the software. One of the more impressive features is the ability of MPO to optimize every customer order through   any stage of its lifecycle – from sourcing to fulfilment. Working under the title of “Customer Chain Control” this real-time, continuous optimization is based on each customer’s exact requirements, meaning that every customer order effectively gets its own “Micro Supply Chain”. This way, businesses can dynamically control costs and service level execution with unmatched precision and granularity.

Another area in which MPO excels is in its ability to provide supply chain visibility and control into all flows – inbound, outbound, reverse, and aftermarket – all on a single cloud platform. In short, this means
that businesses are able to more clearly see contextual insight into how decisions affect one another within the greater supply chain and allows them to be more strategic as a result.

Many businesses have begun to digitize. But ERPs and WMSs only offer partial supply chain visibility and do not allow businesses to master supply chain orchestration. The problem with this approach is that these efforts tend to lack the data model, dynamic business rules, and systems integration necessary for end-to-end visibility, collaboration, and optimization – the three essential components for multi-party supply chain orchestration.

The ability to provide such wide-ranging capabilities is one of MPO’s greatest strengths the platform’s ability to provide support with a Digital Control Tower and Supply Chain Visibility for multi-enterprise
networks, as well as order management, transportation management, reverse logistics and spare parts management all in one equation 
is what really sets this solution apart, elevating it to the next
level. The MPO platform remains the only one of its kind to use smart business rules and algorithms to process such broad considerations and constraints on a single platform. The platform also acts instantly, in the moment, and upon the latest network data.

In one of the most complex, demanding times the world has ever known, MPO ensures its customers remain competitive, innovative, and able to take advantage of any opportunity. MPO’s platform retains enough flexibility to optimize complex flows at every stage of fulfilment, under any condition. Leveraging the MPO platform, customers with complex, global supply chains have improved customer service, reduced costs, and achieved faster and more efficient supply chains.

Far from being merely a background function, the importance of supply chain management plays a pivotal role in defining the customer experience. It’s a consideration often ignored, but an opportunity not to be missed by businesses. Instead of focusing on the challenges, the team at MPO have created ways to work with the huge potential offered by globalization and networking. It’s a move that will not only benefit the customer, but the consumer and businesses as well. It’s this forward thinking that has ensured MPO has become an incredible success.

 

Company: MPO

Contact email: [email protected]

Website: www.mpo.com

Leading the Way in Clean Transportation Technology

The world of clean technology has grown massively in the past few years, with the need for humanity to change how it operates becoming ever more important. Few have been more successful in this endeavour than the Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC). Recognized in Corporate Vision’s Corporate Excellence Awards as the Most Influential Leader in Clean Transportation Technology – 2020, we are delighted to be able to turn to the company’s CEO Josipa Petrunic to see how she earned this incredible accolade.

Many are just opening their eyes to the need to turn attention to cleaner technology, with the environment becoming an increasingly important issue to consider. That said, finding the organizations and businesses to support the development of this vital work is not always easy to come by.

Once a researcher in public policy, shaping electric car technologies and their adoption in Canada, we started our interview by asking Josipa Petrunic, Executive Director and CEO of CUTRIC, what led her down this path. In 2015, with the help of a volunteer Board of Directors of dedicated individuals from core agencies like Brampton Transit, Thales Canada, and the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA), I launched CUTRIC to revolutionize public transit technologies across the country and deliver better shared mobility options to Canadians.”

From these humble beginnings, it has been possible for Josipa and her team to focus on spearheading, designing, and launching technology and commercialization projects that advance next-generation “low-carbon smart mobility” technologies across Canada. Josipa explains that “our vision is to make Canada a global leader in low-carbon smart mobility technologies across heavy-duty and light-duty platforms, including advanced transit buses, coaches, rail vehicles and non-revenue service cars and trucks owned and operated by public fleets. Our mission is to do this all through technology projects that commercialize great ideas through massive integration trials that monitor technology performance and help transit agencies and cities move towards large-scale procurements. These projects range from industry-led collaborative research with universities, through to large community-based business- to-business demonstration and integration trials that bring innovative design to Canada’s low-carbon smart mobility eco-system.”

The biggest challenge to this work is the difficulty of growing a low- carbon eco-system in a country based primarily on fossil fuel extraction. Fortunately, this industry has been growing on a global scale, and there are extraordinary opportunities for both the company and Canada at large in the foreseeable future.

Though CUTRIC’s mandate is deeply tied to public transportation, many of the company’s projects are based in the private sector, a unique collaboration that Josipa was keen to explain: “The taxpayer is already burdened with core social services to deliver, and technology innovation is not best pursued within the houses of government. Unless there is a profit to be made over the long-term, projects will not get off the ground. We see the private sector as taking a necessary leadership role in the fight against climate change, and as having the financing and profit-motivation to do so.”

In addition to their work in technology and commercialization, CUTRIC aims to address the hurdles society faces in using transit. She went on to explain the societal problems with public transport, and how removing this stigma could be a positive change in and of itself. “For too long, transit has been treated in North America as the mobility mode of last resort – something people are forced to use when they can’t afford a car. In our view, transit customers deserve better than that. We value the reputation of transit, and aim to make it the place to go to get around, to meet people, to commute faster and more comfortably than you can do in a car in all cases across all of Canada – from the dense urban centres of Toronto to the sparse rural areas of northern Saskatchewan and the North West Territories.”

All this work is undertaken for a range of core clients in a variety of industries. Each sector has its own contrasting demands and expectations, which can be clearly illustrated by comparing the needs of private industry with public transit agencies. While private industry expects long-term business opportunities to justify investment, public transit agencies need to see the improvement over the status quo that can be offered, especially when it comes to operational savings. CUTRIC assists by ensuring industry can make these investments, and that public agencies can measure and quantify the benefit.

With much of its work focused on development and innovation, it’s understandable that CUTRIC has had a number of challenges to face. “At times, we have faced failures in project development,” Josipa agrees, “but we have always emerged with long-term successes to boast, because of the dedication, commitment and loyalty to the cause by CUTRIC employees. Our employees are trusted to carry our brand, carry our message, present to diverse stakeholders, advocate for our initiatives and face criticism when it comes” Josipa notes, with a touch of pride that “CUTRIC is a place where people come to change the world.”

With such importance placed on employees, we thought we’d ask how the company is able to find such exceptional people to place in its employ. “Today, we look for talented and diverse individuals who we believe will add great value to the team,” Josipa explains. “We use a three-step hiring process that includes assignments, video interviews, and in-person presentations as part of the hiring process to ensure we have the right candidate for our team and to ensure that we can find those “unicorns” when we go hunting for them.”

Our interview turned to the future, with the need for action taken in the realm of climate change more urgent than ever before. Josipa explains that in several Canadian jurisdictions, provincial governments have opposed and continued to fight against climate action policies that could make a real difference to the crisis. “The result is that we face a challenging provincial landscape in terms of commitments to environmental action, and innovation investment in areas like electrification or automation of transit services. This has created investment delays and a perceived sense of uncertainty at times as to whether Canada is indeed ‘open for business’ in low-carbon technology innovation.”

Regardless, the company has big plans looking forward. The launch of the ACES Big Data Trust – ACES standing for Autonomous, Connected, Electric, Shared – will encourage the real-time collection and sharing of electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric bus data and charging system data across multiple jurisdictions. It’s the opportunity to access an enormous amount of data that can be fed into new designs and create better products in the future.

Our time with Josipa is now at an end, but we feel enlightened about her work and what her and her team are trying to do in a challenging climate. The need to act is ever more important, and any positive steps to making that happen should be applauded. Certainly, we think that Josipa, and the work of CUTRIC is sure to continue its incredible success.

Company: Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC)

Contact: Josipa Petrunic, Executive Director & CEO

Website: www.cutric-crituc.org