Acuver Consulting Private Limited came into existence in early 2013 with a vision to provide customer-oriented consulting, IT services and innovative products within Supply Chain Execution, a group of experienced IT professional. There are three founding members- Satyajit Jena, Partner; and Mayank Gupta, Associate Partner, and Sunny Nandwani, Founder and Managing Partner. We are publishing an interview with Mr. Sunny Nandwani, Founder and Managing Partner of Acuver Consulting:
Q. Please tell us about the founder (Their names; roles in startup, What’s the Story? When did you start working together etc.?
Ans: Sure. The leadership team includes:
Sunny Nandwani, Founder and Managing Partner: I am a seasoned professional, IIM Bangalore Alumni with over 15 years of experience in the domain of Supply Chain Execution. I have essayed multiple roles across varied geographic locations i.e. US, Europe and Japan in implementing Global Inventory Visibility, Sourcing, Order and Warehouse Management solutions for global retail clients. In the past, I have been instrumental in conceptualizing and incubating Digital Commerce Practice for multiple organizations. Here at Acuver, I spearhead the thought leadership for organizational direction and manage growth plans for expansion.
Satyajit Jena, Partner: Satyajit is an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, and brings over 8 years of global work experience with several Fortune 500 companies spanning across multiple geographies including Europe and Asia-Pacific. He has played significant roles in Supply Chain Execution and Implementation for various clients during his tenure. During his successful association with previous organizations, he has been able to enrich himself rapidly with the best practices, technologies, delivery & leadership skills. Over the years Satyajit has developed a deep understanding of B2B & Commerce Suite of Products. At Acuver, he has been donning many hats, from technical innovation to delivery to training & enablement.
Mayank Gupta, Associate Partner: Mayank brings over a decade of experience in building Enterprise eBusiness, eCommerce and Supply Chain Execution suite of applications. He has played various roles in Order capture and Order Fulfillment solution implementation for world top-notch companies in India and US. At Acuver, he provides technology insights, handles sales and manages client delivery. Having worked with leading start-ups to mid-size IT consulting companies, he has mastered the art of leading and managing the teams to deliver excellent business value to the customer. He earned his bachelor’s from IIT-Delhi.
The service industry has always interested and inspired us. In fact, I have grown up observing the service industry as we have a family business in Delhi that has been operational since more than three decades now. We wanted to come up with a brand that addresses some of the major recurring demands of the supply chain and the logistics industry. The eureka moment happened iteratively. Small creative burst lead to another and so on. With more than 15 years of experience across various geographies, and learning shared by my family we decided to start off. First thing we realized that it cannot be a part-time commitment. We decided to quit our jobs and started operating from home. We debated routine set of challenges in supply chain. How to bring up “Value Proposition” as a niche player in industry? Creating “Compelling Customer Experiences” “Accuracy” and “Veracity”. Over last 2 years, we have extended our executive team and on-boarded leaders with complimentary and related experience- both organic and external.
Q. What is the problem you are trying to solve?
Ans: We found a pattern emerging and distinctive gaps in the industry that needed immediate attention. The industry is lagging in supply chain and logistics management and enterprises are not able to make faster and smarter business decisions.
Q. Tell us about the Product / Solution. Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
A supply-chain implementation should be Agile, Responsive, reliable and Resilient. It also involves heterogenous applications with multiple integrations. Hence, it’s important for a supply-chain operation to run smoothly we need these applications to be also Responsive, reliable and Resilient. OpsRoom is a product for supply chain operations which provides visibility to track key application process for real time decision making and tools to automate repetitive, manual tasks. It helps an application support to be agile and responsive to recover brilliantly from any known/unknown issues
Product Market Fit Process:
As we were continuously serving retailers, proximity helped us to understand their need and issues faced by them to improve customer experience. They needed visibility in different areas, and it was an underserved need. This helps us to document the problem that need to be solved and define our target customer.
Next step was to define the value proposition. We can very clearly see that as supply chain has evolved to be an integration and collaboration of partners, a seamless flow of an order and its visibility real time will allow retailers to deliver right product to the right customer at right time. And this was the value proposition of our product.
We brainstormed, researched, worked with identified target customer to create prototype with minimum viable feature set. We then started trial with our existing customers. We welcomed feedback. Based on it we refined the prototype to incorporate their concern and experience. We continuously worked on this cycle. And product has now evolved itself to serve customer better.
Q. What is your USP?
Ans: With a pedigree in supply chain solution at Acuver, we differentiate ourselves by combining deep industry experience with solid technical acumen. We have established a culture that supports our team to provide exceptional services to our customer. We continuously focus on reskill and up skill initiative, our motto is scale for every detail and we standby it. We believe in a simple and honest approach.
Q. Who in your mind is your ideal customer? Do you have at least one of them signed up?
Ans: There’s a famous saying that you should “sell the hole, not the drill”. In other words, your customers aren’t buying your products or services for their surface features, but for the benefits they bring. From a product perspective, an ideal customer is the one who is looking forward to delivering right product at the right time to the right customer. To achieve this, he needs seamless execution of supply chain processes and OpsRoom helps them to achieve this. As we are already working in supply chain domain, these customers will hold low cost of acquisition.
Q. Do you have at least one of them signed up?
Ans: We have retail customers already live and have noticed a high retention in the consumer base. We are identifying roadmap based on latest trends, and consumer expectations. We are constantly in touch with our customers for feedback. Basis which we plan on our product roadmap
Q. How are you pricing the Product? Explain your thought process.
Ans: OpsRoom is a SaaS based product. And Our pricing is solely based on the value our buyers and users derive out of it.
As a trial we offer a 15-day trial to familiarize prospects with the features and benefits. Post which it works on monthly/annual subscription basis. This allows users to reevaluate the value they receive.
Q. What has been your biggest failure as an entrepreneur and what did you learn from it?
Ans: Touchwood! We have not failed; however, we did face a set of challenges and had our own learnings. One of our major learnings was talent optimization. An IT organization needs projects and talents for a business to grow, therefore having the right mix of skill set was a challenge. There were instances with clients where they wanted us to take up multiple projects, and we had tough time arranging for right set of skills. With time we matured, we learned to strike a balance between resources and upcoming technologies. Along with that we also started investing in upskilling and reskilling our employees. This enabled us to serve assignments as well as improve on employee retention.
We pave our path each day based on the belief that there is no short cut to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.
Q. How did you get your first customer?
Ans: Initially you don’t have success stories or happy customers when you just start… so the next big thing is domain expertise. With over 15+ years of rich experience in this domain we were lucky to get our first break with one of the world’s leading retail giants who were setting up their ODC in India. We could win the trust of the client with our knowledgeable resources and our experience. This was a highlight for us as our commitment for this project paved way for future engagements.
Q. Please tell us about the investors (if any)
Ans: So far, we have grown as a bootstrapped organization. Recently we have been approached by a promising investor who can help us expand. We are evaluating the options of stockholders and determine what works best will be proceed accordingly.
Q. Is there any interesting success story? If yes, please write about it.?
Ans: Over the years, as we grew, we strictly adhered to iterative approach and achieved milestones. We have always believed in building partnerships with credibility. One of the most interesting successes was getting our first customer for our product.
As I have mentioned earlier, we were already engaged on services side and have established credibility for our domain knowledge and technical excellence. Hence, we learnt about the brand’s need and problem and created a prototype and presented it to them as a solution. The brand agreed for a trial and used the application. They also provided feedback to us on the product, further recommending our product to other consumers.
Q. What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product/service leading to something bigger? If so, how?
Ans: Since our Inception in 2013, we have achieved several milestones and one among them is our expansion to Singapore. With our further plans to expand in the US in the near future, we envision to be the most user-friendly assistance both in terms of product and service and our transparency and collaboration will lead us to achieve the same.
Supply chain is dependent on three network pillars i.e. People, Process and Technology. All three of them play an imperative role in achieving the best outcome. We want our service/product to be one of the most user-friendly options out there. Hence, we first identify the possible pain points and then start addressing them in sequence. We start off by having a group of people with real-time information for them to take conscious decision coupled with process which is technology friendly.
Q. What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product/service leading to something bigger? If so, how?
Ans: With the growth of e-commerce and omnichannel fulfillment, along with ever increasing customer expectation, the supply chain itself has become very complex. Multi-vendor collaboration has become a part of the system. In such a scenario, Acuver is looking forward to creating products/provide solutions that allows seamless executions of supply chain processes. On the services side, we will continue to provide excellent customer experience.
Q. Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture?
Ans: We started our operations in 2013 and so far, we have received terrific responses from our customers. We have registered double-digit growth year-on-year and anticipated to reach more by the end of this year. Also, we have started noticing a high customer retention and have received great appreciation for our services and products.
Q. What is the current turnover?
Ans: We will not be able to disclose specific numbers, whatever the figures are mentioned on our website should be considered approximately.
We have approximately executed 50+ supply chain project across geographies which were great in numbers. From product perspective – Our Product Opsroom is already live with few leading retailers and we are procuring quality results.
Q. List all the names of the core Team Members, along with their Designated Roles.
Ans: Apart from the three founders the core team also includes:
Sahiba Singh – Director, Customer Success: She exhibits a lot of positive energy in her approach. She is a self-starter with focus towards organizational goals. Sahiba joined Acuver as Senior Manager and moved a Director position in a span of 5 years. She was entrusted with expansion of the customer base and maintains existing customer relationships. The ideas and strategies conceptualized and implemented by her have been valuable and applauded by her management at multiple occasions. She has been helping to uphold an effective solution-based approach towards diversified accounts in domains such as retail, finance, education and manufacturing.
She is an engineer with MBA in Marketing. Sahiba likes traveling and exploring new places.
Umar Kizhuvapat Director, HR and Operations, Acuver Consulting:
Umar is serving in the capacity of, Director – HR; Operation. He brings with him 11 years of rich experience in IT talent acquisition, manpower planning, employee engagement, statutory compliance. His efforts have been instrumental in aiding organization’s growth and evolution to a mature level enabling them to handle key client relationships whilst ensuring smooth operations internally. Umar believes in supporting the society by contributing back which complements Acuvers Consulting’s vision. He also considers that effectiveness of CSR events is dependent on the level of involvement. He feels that involvement right from the grassroots level to the overall management is very important in the success of any event.
Umar holds a PGDHRM in HR from Symbiosis. He has his bachelor’s in business management from BBM from Bharathiar University. He likes to follow news, articles or case studies that point towards new dimensions in HR as a function.
Neelima Sinha – Senior Manager, Acuver Consulting: Neelima is an engineer with profound understanding of marketing functions that brings in a 360 degree understanding of customer needs. At Acuver Consulting, Neelima is entrusted with leading marketing efforts related to Growth of Market size, Go-to- Market strategies, Market Research, Corporate Communications, Content and Digital marketing to create an enriching consumer journey.
She embarked on her career journey as a developer in supply-chain domain and has undertaken many different assignments for different retailers and gradually moved towards management roles that included managing team of developers. She has been on technical side of things and always remained in Retail space and global companies such as Tesco and IBM. She has a value driven approach for every activity she drives and result delivers.
Neelima has earned her graduation and post-graduation from two of the most prestigious institutions of India. Neelima has graduated from NIT Jamshedpur and she holds an executive MBA from IIMC.
Sharada Sringeswara – Associate Partner: Sharada is an Associate Partner at Acuver Consulting bringing in 20 years of rich experience in development, product leadership, order management and immense retail industry experience with focus on supply chain. She has been one of the pioneers in aiding the leap from product- based selling to customer experience-based solutions.
Sharada has an MS from Bit Pilani. Fascinated by the concepts of Artificial Intelligence and the role played by data in it, Sharada also had done a certification in Big Data Analytics from IIMB. She likes to unwind by keep in touch with her creative self through painting and spending quality time with family.
Rajiv Upadhyay – Managing Partner: Rajiv is a Managing Partner with Acuver. He is responsible for driving sustainable growth for the company. He is passionate about building high performing engineering teams, that enable customers in their digital transformation journey. In his current role, Rajiv drives the focus on hiring the finest talent, liaising with customers for new and existing businesses, and continuously looking for new avenues of growth.
Rajiv has almost 20 years of experience in the IT Industry, and has worked in markets across Europe, US and India. His focus has been on building large scale platforms as well as on building and scaling organizations. Entrepreneurial aspirations led Rajiv to join hands with his friends at Acuver, where he works closely with the founding partners to lead the business to the next level of growth.
Q. Who do You Perceive as Your Competition? How do you differentiate yourself with them?
Ans: “Ourselves” !!! Our priority currently is client’s contentment. Every time we take up an assignment, we rigorously work towards setting up a higher standard than we did before.
Q. What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months?
Ans: We continue to work towards our vision to do our best in whatever we do and be respected for our work. At Acuver, we always focus on doing the thing right way. We look forward for diversification of our services.
On the product side, we are expanding across geographies. Alongside we are working towards making OpsRoom cognitive. Our Product engineering team is aggressively working with the customer to add benefits of OpsRoom AI.
Thanks Sunny. Best wishes!