Supply Insight Inc., a re-start of a 12-year-old business, is one of many startups participating in the 2017 reSET Impact Accelerator. The program is designed for entrepreneurs in the early stages of business development.
Supply Insight CEO Brock Hotaling told Innovation Destination Hartford about the startup’s mission to help solve some very practical asset-management issues for small organizations in a newly affordable way.
INNOVATION DESTINATION HARTFORD: When and why did you start the company?
BROCK HOTALING: Supply Insight has been in operation since 2004, providing advanced radio-frequency identification (RFID)—like the chips in your passport and credit cards—solutions for business, such as tracking assets and inventory.
However, technology has undergone a massive change. Supply Insight was not able to keep up and suffered a downturn. I was hired to “re-launch” the company with a new business model and a cutting-edge line of new BYOD (cellphones and mobile devices) and cloud-based products developed by Verbi Inc. and integrated with our traditional on-premise solutions.
IDH: How did you develop the business concept?
BH: The re-launch has been formed using the concepts of Lean Startup Methodology, which require a cyclical approach of listening carefully to your customers, testing your offerings and price points, and iteratively learning what drives the customer’s purchases.
Because technology and business models move so much faster today than previously, it’s necessary to have an agile strategic plan that moves as quickly as the industry and your competition evolve. As a result, we’ve developed a truly unique and affordable product that is much in demand and we are ramping up our messaging.
IDH: Tell us about Supply Insight Inc.
BH: We track any kind of asset—whether items, people, or documents—using the latest in wireless technology (primarily a combination RFID and barcode) and provide simple, affordable solutions for small-to-midsize enterprises (SMEs). Previously, businesses expected to pay around $10K per user for such asset and inventory solutions, but we’ve driven the price down to less than $1,500 and will be driving it below $1,200 by the end of the year.
We use the term SME rather than SMB because schools, non-profits, and government agencies also find an ideal fit for our products. In the past, the high price of RFID tags and the difficulty of commissioning those tags have been key barriers to adoption. We have now removed those barriers and implemented our user interface as familiar iOS and Android apps, making asset and inventory management much easier to use and understand. Segments such as retail/cpg, distribution, warehousing, commercial services, healthcare/pharma, government contracting, construction, and facilities management find rapid returns on investment using our solutions.
IDH: What makes your company unique?
BH: We are the only company with an asset/inventory tracking and monitoring app that works on your iOS device and simultaneously reads both RFID tags and barcodes. This is a true breakthrough. RFID has huge advantages over barcodes for business, but barcodes and QR codes will not disappear because they occupy an important low-cost niche into the future. Most cost-conscious businesses now see the advantage in adopting both technologies simultaneously and using bring your own device (BYOD) iPhones and Android phones as business-ready devices.
IDH: Describe the ways your company is making a social impact.
BH: Worldwide, thefts and losses in business account for more than $1 trillion. All types of enterprises can expect to lose 5% to 10% of their net asset value annually. The organizations that can least afford to suffer damage and theft—such as schools, non-profits, and local governments—are those that simply cannot afford a typical enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system to run the organization.
We not only make such a system affordable, we provide deep discounts and training so that these organizations can retain their assets. And, since our app is on an iOS device and works like any other app, it is much easier to use that the typical business system. Cash-strapped organizations in the public service arena can for the first time see immediate returns on investment.
IDH: Why are you participating in the reSET accelerator?
BH: Having a community of business experts to oversee the development of our business model canvas through an end-to-end Lean approach has incalculable benefits, not the least of which is much more quickly discovering our market type and customer profile, and how to most efficiently reach those customers with our product.
IDH: Any advice for entrepreneurs or startup business owners?
BH: Whether you have a lot of experience in running a business or none at all, using a proven process for entrepreneurial success is the only way to attack your objectives. There are no shortcuts for a startup, but there are major efficiencies available in such a system that will relieve a lot of the stress factors and get you to success more quickly and with less risk.
IDH: Where do you see your company one year from now?
BH: We would like to be the #1 choice in wireless asset tracking and inventory control for small businesses, non-profits, government agencies, and educational institutions when competitive offerings are actually compared.
Learn more about Supply Insight at www.supplyinsight.com.
Learn about 2017 reSET Impact Accelerator participants:
- Hopewell Health Solutions – Social Impact Startup Provides Innovative Health Treatment Solutions
- Impact Mart — Social Entrepreneurship Startup with a Mission to Solve Global Issues
- Kulture Magazine — Social Impact Startup Fosters Innovative Youth Kulture
- WEWOOL — Social Impact Startup with a Mission to Help the Homeless