Neil Dsouza, CEO
How to weigh a block of ice without touching it? For Neil D’Souza, CEO of Makersite, this challenge looks a lot like the one that manufacturers face when they deal with their supply chain.
At their core, supply chains are designed to protect competitive advantage and IP while maintaining leverage by controlling the flow of information. “What supply chain programs attempt to do is essentially like the ice block problem— they try to “remote sense” that information,” says D’Souza. He suggests that the ice could be left to melt and the collected water weighed, a parallel to supply chain professionals waiting for regulations to catch up and the onus left to regulators. Another approach could be to estimate the size and weight of the ice cube from its density and volume - a question for a physics expert to solve. This is similar to investing in third-party auditors, an expensive approach to identifying supplier risks. A third method is to ask the person who provided the ice, assuming that they know the answer. This is what many supply chain organizations attempt to do today—ask their suppliers. With complex products and supply chains, this is an immensely time-consuming process and distracts from core operations of companies – making and selling products.
“We need a fundamentally different approach with the goal of making better products, faster. Supply chain initiatives and many other business initiatives for that matter would better serve the organization when framed in that way” explicates D’Souza. First of all, a company is known because of its products and the faster they bring more competitive, safer and compliant products to market, the more successful they are. This is where Germany-based Makersite is making a difference.
Delivered under the name of the company, Makersite is a cloud-based product data management platform that aggregates all the facets of product management, from product performance to supply chain operations. The platform creates a digital twin of customers’ products—which can be as simple as a recipe, a CAD drawing or a bill of materials (BOM)—and semi-automatically enriches them with millions of data points related to the products’ raw materials, cost, supply chains, and suppliers. “Within minutes, a product’s supply chain can be estimated to an unparalleled level of accuracy and detail,” says D’Souza.
This digital twin is then placed in the “virtual environment” with the latest information on business processes such as manufacturing and logistics, regulations, environmental and health impacts. The outcome is a simulation of the product and its supply chain which can be used to interrogate potential risks and opportunities. “Makersite enables its clients to take an exponential leap in knowledge about their products and leverage that to their advantage, orders of magnitude faster than conventional approaches” says D’Souza.
Makersite enables its clients to take an exponential leap in knowledge about their products and leverage that to their advantage
Organizations can consequently reduce their time to market and control risks by interrogating their entire supply chain. The platform also facilitates should-cost analysis to improve supplier negotiations, support make/buy decisions, capitalize on process-based opportunities along with increasing profit margins.
Focusing on elevating efficiency in business processes, Makersite’s platform enables teams to perform their tasks quickly as well as aim at greater product success. Designed for product sustainability, compliance, and cost management, the tool integrates data quickly and enables supply chain professionals to take a multi-criteria approach towards making more sustainable decisions. The tool is designed to integrate data instead of systems and hence, focuses on unlocking value from that data as quickly as possible. Using its extensive API infrastructure, Makersite exchanges live information with internal as well as external systems and assimilates new data sources without any customization, thanks to their proprietary technology called Dynamic Data Integration ©.
“Makersite has comprehensive product data and supply chain coverage with more than 10k product category models, 38k industrial processes, 600k environmental impacts, 100k materials and their physical properties, 100k suppliers and more,” states D’Souza.
What further sets the company apart is that Makersite is the only platform that brings together people, planet, and profit into a single view to make better business decisions. The uniqueness of Makersite lies in its competence to function on numerous attributes of product management all at once on a single platform.
Makersite worked with a German aircraft manufacturer that struggled to identify suppliers for certified parts. Makersite aggregated several data sources to model the supply chains of the entire aerospace industry, connecting suppliers and their products to the customers they sell to. Beyond identifying certified suppliers the solution cross-referenced products against similar aircraft platforms to find viable partners effortlessly.
While Makersite continues to strengthen their functionality and data offering, their plug-n-play apps put them in a different league to other players. “Apps for us are typically a data-software combination, integrated into the core data model of the platform—so they are plug-n play for our customers,” remarks D’Souza. One of the next apps in the company’s pipeline will allow building detailed supply chains, providing sustainability, compliance and cost information from full material declarations (FMDs) that companies may have already collected from their suppliers.
“We believe that this will have tremendous applications in R&D and procurement teams,” concludes D’Souza.