We all hate to lose, but accomplishing a mission requires sacrifice and losses along the way
At Directworks, our mission is to help our manufacturing customers develop, launch and deliver more profitable products. We fulfill this mission by helping their product stakeholders and direct materials suppliers work together more effectively at every stage of the product lifecycle. Our solution platform is built exclusively for discrete manufacturers and is designed with this mission in mind.
Any worthy mission requires sacrifice and losses along the way, especially when you are trying to change the way people have thought and acted for decades. I’ll elaborate more on this later in the post, but first I want to explain why we set off on this particular mission.
Directworks has deliberately chosen to serve an underserved market by focusing solely on the direct materials purchased to build highly-engineered products and the suppliers who provide those materials. In doing so, we’re disrupting the status-quo and challenging two outdated tenets:
The first is the “one-size-fits-all” mindset of people who believe a single enterprise solution will work just fine for both indirect and direct spend. If this is true, why are so many manufacturers still using spreadsheets to engage suppliers and manage their direct materials spend? Because the indirect-focused solutions they selected do not work for direct materials. Direct and indirect spend (and suppliers) are completely different animals and require different solutions. This direct/indirect difference is evident in downstream transactional ordering systems (MRP vs. P2P) so why should a single solution be used for upstream activities?
The second tenet we are disrupting is the “procurement-only” characterization of our solution market. Direct materials are part of the product and therefore involve multiple stakeholders across disparate functions (e.g. procurement, engineering, quality, manufacturing) who must work together…and with suppliers…to drive product innovation, accelerate speed to market and improve profitability. These stakeholders must abandon the isolation of their functional silos and work more closely together to produce the best outcomes. Directworks is not a “procurement-only solution,” it’s an engagement platform that enables more effective communication and collaboration across functional stakeholders and suppliers to achieve greater product success. It’s a solution for everyone involved in delivering more profitable products.
OK, now back to the aforementioned sacrifice and losses. We recently lost a competitive opportunity because our solution did not have certain capabilities required to support the prospect’s indirect sourcing needs. The prospect is a heavy duty manufacturer with much greater direct spend than indirect, but they had the “one-size-fits-all” mindset and we came up short on their indirect requirements. This prospect ultimately settled for a more general solution.
Losing a battle can make you question your mission. However, we believe our customers will be better served if we maintain our product-centric, direct materials focus and provide purpose-built solutions that enable them to bring their stakeholders and suppliers together to develop, launch and deliver more profitable products. That’s our mission and we’re not going to waver.