It was a sunny winter’s day when the team headed to Morges, just a short ride away from IMD’s campus. Our destination? An embellished lakeside municipality where apartment blocks and offices congregated in the same complex.
There we met the founders of GenLots, Simon and Arnaud, who welcomed us into their modern yet homey office. As we conversed, there was no doubt that the two of them managed the company on all fronts. They were talented in multiple areas, and their passion really showed through.
It was impressive to hear about their experiences in dealing with interest from many big names in Europe in the pharmaceutical and consumer goods manufacturing industries.
We were also excited to learn that GenLots’ recently received funding from Silicon Valley’s famous Plug and Play Tech Center.
Realizing the untapped potential of data
Briefly, GenLots takes data from their customer’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and machine learning algorithm. They then use this to predict optimal timing and quantities for inbound materials and components ordering. In one case, they were able to reduce a company’s inventory orders by 60%. This significant analysis output would have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Users are equipped with a sleek dashboard which visualizes inventory metrics, among other cool features. With this, decisions can be made with speed and peace of mind. This in turn allows companies to simulate the cost impact of tactical measures.
Providing us with key insights was Professor Carlos Cordon. He has acquainted us with the larger ecosystem of supply chain operations and enlightened us on today’s most pressing trends. Unsurprisingly, a common theme that came up was the pandemic and its impact of supply chain resilience.
We have learned that while a startup has many areas to manage, the key is to prioritize issues with the most impact. We also found that talking to potential customers can provide more tangible insights than desktop research, especially for newer businesses.
Experiencing entrepreneurship outside the classroom
This project has demonstrated to us the amount of dedication that usually goes into start-ups. We have seen products and ideas undergo an iterative process. Everything reinforces what we have learned in many of our case studies with Professor Benoit Leleux during class.
For our team, it has been a process of connecting with others, taking in multiple perspectives while learning how to be comfortable enough to forge ahead in an ambiguous operating environment.
The project has also provided a better idea of what it takes to run a startup. This is especially useful for those of us who are contemplating going down this path after our MBA.
Ayesha (author), Chayan, Doyin, Parco, Tomonari, and Zhenkun