Celebrating National Supply Chain Day with Cin7

In this episode of the Safety Stock podcast, host Will Davis interviews Ajoy Krishnamoorthy, CEO of Cin7, and Rodney Manzo, CEO of Anvyl, in celebration of National Supply Chain Day. They discuss the shifts and challenges in the supply chain industry over the past decade, including the transition from analog to digital commerce and the need for intelligent commerce. They also highlight the importance of technology, mobility, and automation in improving supply chain processes. Ajoy and Rodney share their visions for the future of their respective companies, focusing on making product selling as easy as product buying and providing greater flexibility and insights to customers.

Will Davis (00:11):

Alright everybody, welcome to a special episode of Safety Stock to celebrate National Supply Chain Day. I’m Will Davis and we’re happy to have two guests on Ajoy Krishnamoorthy, CEO of Cin7 and Anvy’s CEO, Rodney Manzo, here today. Hey guys, nice to have you. How are y’all doing?

Ajoy Krishnamoorthy (00:29):

Very good, thanks for having me, Will. Appreciate joining this podcast.

Will Davis (00:34):

Yeah, absolutely. Rodney, everything lovely there in Michigan?

Rodney Manzo (00:36):

Everything’s going really well. Super excited to have Ajoy on and hear more about Cin7.

Will Davis (00:42):

Well, while we’re at it, why don’t we do official introductions and Ajoy, we will start with you there.

Ajoy Krishnamoorthy (00:48):

Well, thanks everyone for listening. As Will said, my name is Ajoy. I’m the CEO of Cin7. We are an ERP or an inventory and order management system if you want to think about us that way. What we do is essentially build a platform and offer a platform that allows customers, our customers are product sellers to take the product to the market successfully and run an efficient business and grow the business. We do that with a set of capabilities that we offer out of the box, including how do you manage the inventory, how do you keep track of the orders, the receiving, purchasing, pick, pack, and ship. We also offer a B2B portal. A lot of our customers are B2B wholesalers. A lot of our customers are online sellers. So we’ve got amazing set of integrations with all the common marketplaces that you’d expect to have Shopify, Amazon, eBay, et cetera, and also connect with accounting systems.


So that’s super important for our customers. So half our customers are running QuickBooks, other apps, running Xero, and we have a native integration that helps customers to seamlessly move data in the two systems. At the end of the day, our vision encompasses our journey, and I’ll stop by talking about that. The vision that we introduced late last year is that make product selling as easy as product buying, right, and I’m sure we’ll dive and get to talk more given its national supply chain day. What’s more fun than talking about supply chain challenges and opportunities. So with that, I’ll turn it over to Rodney.

Rodney Manzo (02:19):

Thank you. Rodney Manzo. My background is supply chain and operations. On the physical product side, I’ve built supply chain’s at Apple, Harry’s grooming, and throughout my career, so really excited here to learn more of what Ajoy just said. Anvyl, we’re under procure to pay supply chain visibility, order management platform where we really focus on the first mile making things more visible, centralizing tools and helping operators see around the corner.

Will Davis (02:50):

Well, there you go. Now the question is how did y’all meet? How do you know each other from that perspective? Was it a walk by, you started to supply chain on the street of New York somewhere? Or was it, how did y’all actually meet?

Ajoy Krishnamoorthy (03:06):

Well, I typically not engage with, if somebody wants to talk to supply chain on the streets of New York, I usually run away. So definitely not that, but go ahead, Rodney.

Rodney Manzo (03:16):

Yeah, and I don’t think anyone ever wants to talk supply chain on the streets of New York City, but you just came from Acumatica and then you joined Cin7 and we had a call because we’re talking about product, about kind of partnerships, and that was a initial conversation about a year-ish ago now.

Ajoy Krishnamoorthy (03:37):

That’s right. Yeah. So I mean I joined Cin7 in December of 2022. As Rodney said, my life has been on product. I’m less of a supply chain expert compared to Rodney. Well, I guess I have teenage kids, so obviously as a consumer I was a supply chain expert trying to figure out when they will get the orders and so on. But all along in the product space, I spent about 10 years at Microsoft and then about eight years at Acumatica, which Rodney referred, a cloud ERP company, worked with the product sellers and so on. And then joined Cin7 in December, 2022. Took on the product as a chief product officer. I think I met with Rodney sometime in February or so of last year, and really getting to know the platforms out there that are adding value. We have joined customers that are leveraging both Cin7 and Anvyl. So the spirit of the conversation was understanding what Anvyl platform best and what Cin7 does, and how do we bring our forces together to offer an integrated platform that offers benefits to our joint customers. So that’s kind of where it started, but then we’ve had a lot of fun conversations about the industry, what’s changing, I’m sure some of that we’ll be talking about in the call today. And I appreciated the insights that Rodney brought to some of those discussions as well.

Will Davis (04:49):

Well, there you go. And that’s actually a nice segue in terms to our first question. Ajoy for you, in terms of looking back, what’s been the biggest shift you’ve seen from your perspective in the supply chain space over the past 10 years. From you have a unique purview of it, from your perspective, and then any of those changes surprised you?

Ajoy Krishnamoorthy (05:17):

So I think when we think about supply chain as a whole, and specifically we primarily serve small and mid market customers, right? Enterprise organizations like the large retailers and the Amazons of the world, their journey and transition is obviously a little different than what the small and mid-market customers have gone through. I talk about the story, I wrote a blog about this last year as well. If you think about the industry transformation the last decade, what we have seen happen is the shift from what I call analog commerce to digital commerce. I mean, we’ve all experienced this, whether you’re in supply chain or not. If you’re just walking around a grocery store, you probably have seen people walking around with a notepad in the last 10 years taking notes of SKUs and you always wonder, what are these guys doing writing down stuff?


Literally they’re doing inventory cycle count using a paper pad that goes in the back room and somebody’s manually keying it in. Unfortunately, believe it or not, it’s still happens in some places, but most places have kind of moved on. But that’s just an example of how people are capturing data through a manual process, which obviously I don’t have to state the challenges and it’s error prone, it’s super, super laborious, et cetera, right? So what if you look at the transformation over the last decade, that all got changed into this whole digitization an obviously overused typed word, but everybody has gone this digital transformation now a lot of that activity are now happening through automation. Now what you see, instead of people walking around with the notepad, you see people walking around with the barcode scanner guns. They’re just click scanning, scanning, scanning. Again, we have digitized the process, not so much actually what happens with the data.


So that’s where I see an opportunity, which we’ll talk about the transformation is, so the fundamental shift that’s happened is shift from that analog commerce to digital commerce. And why that’s a good transition is because for a lot of our customers, they could focus the energy and the expertise and their talent and resources on more higher value activity rather than just having to manually walk around the warehouse, walk around the receiving dock and keeping track of things coming in and things moving out. To me, that’s the fundamental shift and a lot of the other changes that we have seen on top of that are driven by that fundamental shift in my opinion.

Will Davis (07:40):

No, that makes sense. And then Rodney, similar to you, any thoughts on that as well?

Rodney Manzo (07:45):

Completely agree. That was actually what was top of mind, the digitization. And a good example of this was when I first started going to China roughly 10 plus years ago, get in a car, Western China, bumpy roads, not paved, go into a factory, the factory was intermittent, internet power was going in and out and that’s what you had. And everyone was walking around with pen and paper, kind of the same thing about doing cycle accounts. It was like how much did you input, what did you output, how many quality issues. Then you would have one person go bring that to a person to put it in an Excel spreadsheet and they didn’t even have any ERP or WMS or any kind of technology. That was how it was 10 years ago and then what the trend through 10 years to more days.


It’s like, can we get the data yes or no, which you can now are we centralizing the data and then launching purpose driven tools around that data. And that was kind of like the trend throughout the last 10 years.

Will Davis (08:48):

Alright, so then from that perspective, when I go to China next week, I should not be expecting to see anybody with pen and paper the internet should be fine and from that perspective it should be all good, right?

Rodney Manzo (09:00):

Yeah, I wish that was the case. Sadly, some of the biggest companies in the world, newest companies still fax.

Will Davis (09:06):

I had a couple of companies on my mind that I still see with bringing the paper around for some of those different checks. All right. So on the looking forward side, Rodney, what do you think the biggest shift in supply chain is going to be in the next 10 years?

Rodney Manzo (09:20):

I will say two things. Connecting tools, then verticalizing these tools. That’s why I was so excited about Cin7, everything Ajoy was saying earlier about all those different capabilities that it has. We’re talking about like an ERP killer, which ERP is a singular purpose driven tool, very financial tool, but operationally it’s not supporting supply chain professionals. Cin7 is able to bring in all those capabilities together, and I can just imagine the next 10 years and it’s shipped from best in breed, little inch wide mile deep tools to these broad base tools that can do so much more, so much powerful for all these other business units and people within the units. So I see that being the future of supply chain and supply chain technology.

Will Davis (10:13):

So Ajoy, kind of the same question to you, but also from a perspective of as you think about what’s the biggest shift in supply chain going to be in the next 10 years, are you seeing any emerging trends or technologies that you believe are going to significantly impact the industry here in the next couple of years?

Ajoy Krishnamoorthy (10:30):

Absolutely. I think I talked about this whole analog to digital commerce transformation. What we are in the midst of right now is the transformation from digital commerce to intelligent commerce, right? Again, there is a lot of hype about AI and ML this, AI that, Gen AI this, I think we will, in my opinion, maybe I’ll sound like a little skeptical here, but I think we are going to settle down into some killer use cases in the future, but we are not there yet. I think it’s still evolving. There’s so much more hype and noise than actually real value at this point in time. But having said that, the reason I’m excited about the shift, like I talked about the sort digitization, and Rodney mentioned this as well, the benefit of that is obviously super clear, right? It’s productivity, it’s better data quality and all that good stuff.


But what hasn’t fundamentally changed is what do we do with that data? Okay? This is why I’m excited about products like Anvyl working with products like platforms like Cin. I use this term and then it just sticks in people’s mind, but a lot of the platform including Cin7 and if you look at our customer’s journey and so on, we are data rich and insights poor. We’ve collected everything. Everything goes into this data store and we’ve got information about all this stuff. But as Rodney said, go talk to one of the SMB product seller. How are you making decision on which inventory to replenish, it’s trival knowledge? And it shouldn’t be that. And that’s where I think Cin7 come into play Anvyl and other platforms to help make the decision with a lot of insights off of what the data tells us, so to speak.


That’s what I’m excited about that transformation. I think it’s underway right now, and Cin7 we think of ourselves as the intelligent commerce platform, a little bit of a marketing statement, but if you peel the onion, what it comes down to at the end of the day is like how do we bring the data to support our organizations and our customers to make the best possible decision? Whether it’s tracking inventory demand from a demand forecasting perspective or a stockout perspective, or forecasting how we are working with the co-man or a manufacturing facility in China that Rodney talked about. How do we think about the schedule and schedule disruption? We have seen the journey through the pandemic over the last several years, like the unbelievable spike in customer demand, but then underlying infrastructure going through some really fundamental challenges in terms of disruptions and whatnot. How do we get prepared?


Obviously you cannot prepare for every possible disruption, but how do we get better at and what can we learn from customer journey? The data that we capture, the inventory flow, the overall supply chain ecosystem. So it makes all of us as a consumer as well as a product seller, that’s where our vision is something that we are super, super fired up about, which is like, can we make product selling as easy as product buying? The reason we pivoted on that Will and Rodney is because if you think about the buying behavior, all of us have gone through this. Pre pandemic and particularly post pandemic. The purchasing is super easy. You just open a mobile app and place an order, boom, product shows up, and we’ve seen customers doing buying through social apps, now you can buy ’em from Instagram or TikTok or whatnot. That part of it is become super, super, super flexible and dynamic.


If you just zoom the camera and then shift to the back office, you know what? I’ll be lying if I said, oh my gosh, the back office have caught up with all that innovation and the pace of change in the buying. It’s not, and that’s our fundamental opportunity. And that’s why I wake up every single day thinking about how do we make that part to keep up with the buying behavior change? And we’re not far off platforms like Cin7, Anvyl, others are really helping our customers to transform that. But we’re not done. This is a journey we’ve just started and we think there’s tremendous opportunity to use the platform, the power of data to get that same level of shift as we have seen on the buying side, on the selling side as well.

Will Davis (14:35):

Sure. So I’m touching on that a little bit more here with the next question is that when I hear you say to your point, you can buy on Instagram, you can buy on TikTok, ordering on Amazon is a seamless process from that perspective, but if you focus the camera and you move it more into the back end of the supply chain, things tend to be more like they were than they are now in terms of the front. What are some of the things that you think are holding that back that lead to there being either misunderstandings about the supply chain or misconceptions about it to the point to why it can’t be or what’s the amount of time that it’s going to take it to be like it is in the front end? And Rodney, why don’t we start with you there and then we’ll go to Ajoy.

Rodney Manzo (15:27):

Yeah, I’m excited about what Ajoy was saying and painting. It’s unbelievable. The misunderstanding though, and misconceptions, and this is why I think we need to look at the next 10 years, is that it’s very siloed and it’s also very manual. So if you go back, everyone’s doing everything on spreadsheets, on pen and paper, and it’s a lot of ’em, just people, if you look at a production line for any good, a shirt or a computer, you’re just going to see a lot of people, a lot of bodies, dozens to hundreds of bodies manually putting everything together. That’s how supply chains run. And then you have a fleet of people behind that. So breaking down those silos, those manual processes are critical and I think that’s what’s going to start happening in the next 10 years, going back to that. But people I think believe that you’re making products like these products you have in your house that you use, you wear that, it’s some kind of special machine doing this. The machine’s are really the people, and that’s the backbone of supply chain.

Ajoy Krishnamoorthy (16:30):

And it’s also very expensive resource that a lot of the customers in the supply chain struggle with as well in terms of hiring quality people and retaining quality people and so on. But just if you step back and look at what’s been the inhibitor, I think sometimes when you look at this as if we step back as I’m a small business, I’m launching my own cosmetic product, which trust me, it happens a lot, especially there’s a renewed energy in terms of innovation and people believing, especially what the journey with online marketplaces that I’ve created is that everybody is an innovator. And that’s amazing to see. The resilience of this ecosystem is nothing like that I’ve ever seen in any other ecosystem. People believe, like I talked to a lot of my customers, I’ve probably have spent just rough math, probably one customer I had detailed conversations with a week in the last year that I’ve been here at Cin7.


And the one thing that I take away from all of those conversation is the optimism that they all share. I have not met one of our customers that’s a business owner saying the doom and gloom macroclimate, this macro, they’re not excuses. They’re all committed. They believe in the vision that they’re executing against whatever the product is. The product could be a shirt that as Rodney was talking about or cosmetics or a new beverage that they’re bringing to market, the optimism and the passion is there. What we need to pair up and why that journey has been slow is that just stepping back and say, what does the crawl walk, run look like? Where do we need to invest to make this thing better? I have walked into so many warehouses and I’ve taken a look, trust me, in full transparency, some of those warehouses looks worse than my kids’ closet.


And that’s where we got to start. We got to start fundamentally, how do we think about the journey to meet with? Again, going back to the demand aspect of it. And that comes with three things in my opinion. And I think Rodney touched on this, which is like, don’t do it alone. Let’s start with technology. Put technology to good use. I know it sounds like a sales pitch here. Trust me, I’m not pitching Cin7 here in this comment. Go pick any technology you want. You’ve got to have, take technology and use it to your advantage. Second is mobility. And again, it’s related to the tech, but in general, how do customers enable mobility and start leveraging mobile devices as part of their entire supply chain logistics? And the third thing is automation. The stuff that people always think about when we talk about automation is people immediately, their mind goes to this magical warehouse with thousands of robots running around.


No, don’t try to imagine that. You may not need that. If you have a warehouse with 50 SKUs and it’s 3000 square foot, you probably don’t need fancy robots running everywhere. So don’t be overwhelmed by looking at this ultimate vision and to say, oh, I need to build that thing. And I’m not that. I’m a $10 million, $5 million, 20 million business and oh, I can’t get there, so I’m just going to do it the way I’ve been doing it already. So to me, that’s the mind shift that needs to happen. The fortunate thing is we’re seeing that happening, and some of this is just the rude awakening from what’s happened over the last, I guess, 5, 6, 7 years since even last three, four years since the pandemic, people have fundamentally understood that they cannot operate the business the way they’ve operated. I’ll give you one example and I stop.


There’s a customer that sells outdoor goods like toys and stuff, like paddle boards and whatnot. It’s a family run business. They’re keeping everything on spreadsheets and so on. To Rodney’s point earlier, it’s not uncommon. And then COVID hit and they didn’t know what to do. And guess what? One of the trends that we saw during Covid is everybody became an outdoor person and people are just going out to campsites, going out to the lakes, and the business was starting to pick up and they couldn’t run the business anymore on spreadsheets. It’s a family run business. They understood everything. It’s a back of their hand. But once you start multiple channels coming in, you have an Amazon listing and then you have a Shopify store. Yeah, try to keep up with all of that using Google sheets and spreadsheets. Not possible. In that case, obviously they switched to Cin7. Now that Cin7 becomes a platform for multichannel, an omnichannel. So they can keep track of all of that in a single pane of glass, and that’s what helps them drive the business better. Not only they’re able to understand the customer demand better, but they’re able to fulfill their customer demand in a much smarter way. To me, that’s what it’s all about, right? It’s like where do we start? Sometimes it’s not the most fast fanciest thing you need to start with. It’s the fundamental thing that need to get done.

Will Davis (21:15):

I think you also touched on a good part there and as we transition, but I think the thought is that some of the, on the backend side, I think the people that are owning the factories or the manufacturers that are producing certain things, I think you’re at a point to where some of those individuals, or if it’s a group, they have done things a certain way for a long period of time and they are used to doing it from there. And in some cases they’ve been successful. But to your points, there is a fundamental shift and where you see some of these factories or manufacturers becoming more successful is when they actually do lead or they do think about technology as they continue to transform their business to the point to where sometimes we see customers have to drive that change because we’re a key partner of yours, we need to do this, and in order for us to do this, you’re going to come on the journey.


The ones that aren’t successful are the ones that say, Hey, I’m good at what they’re doing. And then they slowly beat off people because they can’t support in the way knowing that we’re seeing job openings last longer and longer. We see as a workforce is going on, it becomes harder to hire people. And so I think both of you bring up a good point in those, and so we’ll continue to see how that adjusts as we’re kind of wrapping up. One of the things that I wanted to ask you is, Ajoy, what are you actually looking most forward to when it comes to the future of Cin7 and Rodney same to you for Anvyl, are there any exciting recent or upcoming product updates or new releases that you’re excited about?

Ajoy Krishnamoorthy (22:49):

Thanks for the question. It’s super good. I can probably be talking about that for several hours, but I’ll say this without getting into the nitty gritty features level, fundamentally, when we think about the, going back to this whole intelligent commerce transformation I talked about, if you think about Cin7, I said this even in my intro, people viewed this Cin7, and we positioned this as this inventory management system, order management system, WMS B2B, all the good stuff, POS, everything that you need to run your business. And I think Rodney said it well, this is about having a level of depth, but also the breadth that’s important for our customer base. But to me, I think where we are shifting this is to this whole intelligent commerce platform. The analogy or the example that I use is people buying Cin7, just purely for managing inventory, is like people buying iPhone for making phone calls.


Nobody does that. You don’t buy iPhone because you want to make a better phone call. So yes, you should. And yes, Cin7 is a little biased here, but it’s the best inventory management platform out there. But we are just shifting fundamentally how we think about our customer’s journey and the growth and the fun that they can have with the platform. We are shifting beyond what you would expect from a traditional inventory management system. I’ll stop with two data points. This came out through one of the SMB study that Intuit did last year. I was reading some a report from McKinsey last night as I was prepping for this podcast. And these two points came up pretty well, and Rodney touched on this as well. They basically asked bunch of these SMB, small medium businesses, what are the fundamental challenges that they’re facing? The top two reasons, number one was employees, keeping talented people like the churn, the workforce, et cetera.


And I mean, we all see it. We all know it. And you might wonder, well, how Cin7 can it help? Cin7 cannot help you recruit more people, right? We’re not a recruiting HR platform, but what we can do is to make it super, super easy for onboarding people and super, super easy to prevent them from making mistake that’s going to cost you a lot of money for your business. And that’s where we are investing in the product, making it. For example, the thing that I use, I dunno if it’s popular thing to say, but who wants to retire as a warehouse worker? Nobody. Just by the design of that job, it’s like a nice stepping stone for something else. So there’s a lot of churn happening just by the nature of the beast, so to speak. So we are investing in design capability and experience within the product that will make it super easy for somebody to onboard.


Like in matter of hours, they can be up and running in a platform like Cin7 and then have protection. So they don’t make mistakes, they cannot make mistakes. System is smart enough to stop them from doing it. So that’s number one. Number two is the access to capital, again, obvious thing. And then the question would be like, how can Cin7 help, Cin7’s going to launch a credit union or a bank? No, of course that’s not our business. But what we are doing is we are partnering with organizations to bring capital availability within Cin7, but we can do it with context. So that’s coming in the future. So for example, some of our customers talked about a cosmetic company. They launch a brand, it’s all online, they’re selling, and then boom, all of a sudden they wake up one morning, they get a purchase order from Sephora or Macy’s or whatnot, A million dollars, give me this lip balm and that small mid-market business that’s a maker or breaker moment for them because they haven’t planned for it.


And they’re basically running around trying to source raw materials, and that involves cost and so on. Typically, they’re one of two choices, either to stop all the other orders and fulfill the Sephora orders or the whatever Macy’s, wherever the retailer is coming from, or two trying to scramble, go figure out if they can get additional capital. So that’s where we have a partner with the company. We’ll be making announcement very soon with context, right? At the time when they receive a PO that’s super, super different from rest of the flow, we can present a capital availability that’s actually really, really easy for them to get on and have money in their bank in matter of hours. So that’s the type of investment we’re putting into Cin7. We’re working on payments, we’re working on a lot of machine learning and AI capability, fundamentally changing how the data gets captured, how the data gets presented back. Going back to my comment about data rich and insights poor, we are changing that game. What at the time of replenishment, we can show why are you trying to replenish that inventory? That’s not your most profitable inventory. Are you sure about that? Right? So those are the type of investments we’re making. So three things, helping customers onboard faster and learn the product faster, availability on these ancillary capabilities, including capital and payments, and then absolute investments and data to power customers journey and decision making with a lot of insights.

Will Davis (27:41):

And then Rodney, what about you from Anvyl side?

Rodney Manzo (27:43):

Yeah, that’s pretty powerful, just hearing that. And it’s very exciting. I would say I would look at this two ways. For us, it’s the near term. We want to give brands the flexibility to map to their supply chain and to deliver our automation, collaboration, intelligence engines against that. So greater flexibility. And part of that is we’ll be bringing data to life where they haven’t been able to just, we’re talking about manual processes and kind of silos and using Excel, breaking that barrier down. So that’s near term. Longer term, what we’re looking at is probably what I call a self filling supply chain where we want to be able to deploy our technology so we’ll know when you need to reorder, what you need to order, how long is it going to take to produce, how long will it take to receive this?


And then as issues arise, which it always does, we could predict those, but also help see around the corner with those issues and what they should be doing. That’s what I’m excited about for the future of Anvyl.

Will Davis (28:47):

Well, gentlemen, thank you both for chatting with me today on this very special episode of Safety Stock. National Supply Chain Day, big deal here in homes across the world. We want to make sure that you listening subscribe to our podcast on Spotify, Apple, or wherever you listen to your podcast. And for y’all to know that Anvyl helps consumer brands improve their supply chain process from PO issuance through to warehouse delivery. To learn more about Anvil, visit our website at anvyl.com. That’s ANVYL.com. Rodney. Ajoy. Thank you so much for taking time to speak to us today. It’s much appreciated and I hope that y’all have a wonderful rest of the week.