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Numi Solutions: Firefighting for Supply Chains

Recent years have revealed the fragility of supply chains. But with the right planning, companies can still get a lot out of their supply chains despite adverse circumstances. The Munich-based startup Numi Solutions is developing a solution for just that. In our interview, the two founders Stefan Gaubatz and Moritz Krol explain what their software can do.

Munich Startup: What does your startup do? What problem are you solving? 

Numi Solutions: Numi is a supply chain software that solves the short-term firefighting problem in supply chains. This means that if there are external disruptions on the demand or supply side, the question arises as to what impact it will have on my supply chain. For example, if my risk of an out of stock increases, I won’t be able to deliver customer orders or will have to postpone production orders. We solve these problems with Numi by pulling transactional data from existing systems and enriching it with available external data, such as CRM systems for a better market signal or supplier data for more accurate predictions of when a product will arrive. 

This combination is the basis on which Numi issues daily recommendations for action. For example, do I have to create an express purchase order to avoid a stockout, or do I have to increase my sale price to weaken the demand a bit? The user can then validate this recommendation with our software and feed it right back into the ERP system. 

Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box! 

Numi Solutions: Most supply chain software providers focus on creating medium-term plans, such as demand or supply plans. In contrast, we try to optimize decisions in the supply chain that occur on a daily basis by using linked data and algorithms and by then automating them in a second step. 

Numi helps with proactive planning for supply chains 

We also integrate external events into our tool. For example, we’ve added Salesforce. We can use it to identify projects in advance and to estimate the probability of whether the project is going to happen. This makes it possible to provide certain products in advance. Another example is connecting to our customers’ IoT devices. This lets us read out information from every machine, such as its location and how many machine hours it’s run. This allows us, for example, to foresee maintenance and then proactively make suggestions as to which products need to be stocked. This is how we integrate data, from the company and from the outside, into supply management and prepare recommendations. 

What that means for our users is that they receive daily recommendations as soon as they log in. For example, when an out of stock is pending because the delivery time for a product has been prolonged significantly. Or for inventory reduction, for example, when the ERP system is expecting a delivery time of two months, but we assume that it will only take one month. We give the user the opportunity to simulate these scenarios and to feed the results back into their ERP system. This makes Numi an intelligent add-on to ERP systems for optimizing the supply chain – and obviously with as little manual effort as possible for the user. 

Munich Startup: What’s your founding story? 

Numi Solutions: The two of us met at the supply chain consultancy firm Barkawi Management Consultants in Munich. We spent six years optimizing supply chains there, and it was while working on joint projects that we saw how the other one worked. We noticed that the major supply chain technology providers only cover the medium to long-term planning horizon. But when it comes to making agile decisions faster, users always rely on ERP transactions and Excel. We both thought there had to be a smarter solution for it all. 

Focus on SMEs and low implementation costs 

On top of that, these large providers are often not economically viable for small and medium-sized companies, or their time to value is very long. That’s why we wanted to focus on low implementation costs right from the start and to target SMEs. 

We’re now also working with various consulting firms that specialize in supply chains. They’re benefitting in particular from the simulation capabilities of our software. This gives the firms tremendous added value. 

Munich Startup: What have been your biggest challenges so far? 

Numi Solutions: As with most B2B companies, our biggest challenge is sales. Especially when it comes to major decisions that involve many stakeholders in supply chain management – it can often take a long time. We’ve experienced everything, from a demo meeting where the contract was signed right afterwards, to waiting for nine months until the finally getting a signature. And as a bootstrapped startup, we had to acquire our first customers quickly so we could finance Numi with our sales. Fortunately, we’re now at the point where we have a sufficient run rate to make us independent of external financing. Now we have a little more time to develop the tool according to our ideas and those of our customers. 

“Our experience has actually been nothing but positive” 

Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, and where in five years? 

Numi Solutions: We just changed our software architecture again, so we’ve laid the foundation for further scaling. This will enable us to focus on customer acquisition in the year ahead. Of course, we also have lots of other ideas for our product development. In five years, we want to have built a sustainable and profitable company where our team enjoys working. 

Munich Startup: How have you experienced Munich as a startup location so far? 

Numi Solutions: Our experience has actually been nothing but positive. There are plenty of programs for young entrepreneurs, young founders. For us, it started with the Exist Startup Grant, which was coordinated by TU Munich. That gave us a lot of security in the beginning and the ability to develop the product that we wanted to develop. Then we went to TUM Venture Labs for software and AI. There too, the support was excellent, especially from Antoine Leboyer, and enabled us to immediately make important contacts. The SAP Accelerator SAP.iO also gave us good input, especially in terms of our product. Now our office is in Werk1

“The ecosystem here is great” 

The ecosystem here is great in general. It feels like everyone knows each other and you can network well. Or you meet in the hall or for a coffee. You can find people who can help you amazingly fast and you can quickly exchange ideas with them. It’s really enjoyable and is why we’re so happy about having our office here in Werk1. 

Munich Startup: Outsource or DIY? 

Numi Solutions: We outsource administrative tasks, such as payroll documentation and accounting. Of course we take care of tasks like product development, sales and marketing and customer communication ourselves. This allows us to focus on the tasks that move us forward and to do what we do best, which is optimizing supply chains. And that’s served us quite well so far. 

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