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BizSlate‘s Mobile Supply Chain Management By @Xeniar | @CloudExpo #Cloud

Interview with Marc Kalman, CEO and Founder of BizSlate

Marc, Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Please tell us, what is BizSlate all about and what do you do?

Marc Kalman: BizSlate’s award-winning, cloud-based, supply chain management (SCM) software enables small- and mid-sized manufacturing and distribution businesses to compete more effectively, reduce operational costs, and gain greater visibility into their supply chains. Our product differs from most ERP and order management software, which are typically accounting-focused. Instead, BizSlate’s solution is designed from the supply chain process inward. The result is a truly revolutionary approach that provides proprietary capabilities to solve real-world supply chain challenges. BizSlate is simple and inexpensive to implement, easy to learn and use, and offers growing businesses tremendous, cost-effective operational improvements.

What is your new product launch?
Kalman: We just launched our latest innovative software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that empowers small- and mid-sized distributors to compete on the global stage. BizSlate’s software, available for immediate use, revolutionizes the way in which businesses manage customers, vendors, orders, inventory, and logistics. We are excited to bring a solution to small businesses that, for the first time, is built on a first-hand understanding of how they work and what they really need to succeed.


You are one of the few companies to offer FREE phone support, Why?

Kalman: I have been involved in supply chain technology for my entire career, both as a provider and as a practitioner. I am very sensitive to the needs of this market, particularly when questions come up around the supply chain. We are here to make a difference for small businesses; to truly help them. We want them to be able to get questions answered, at any time, and without concern about additional costs. It makes a difference to them and may be the difference between getting a big deal or losing one.


Additionally, by offering free phone support, it keeps us in check to make sure we deliver on our promise of a solution that is as easy to use as it is powerful, intelligent, and efficient.


Tell us about your integration with QuickBooks? Why would QuickBooks users use BizSlate instead of other SCM software?

Kalman: QuickBooks is a terrific financial management tool. There are various modules and add-ons to QuickBooks that extend its capabilities. However, for emerging businesses, these add-ons are often “Band-Aids” to short-term problems that will eventually need to be replaced as businesses continue growing, and they tend to offer little overall return on investment. As we talk with small businesses, even after purchasing these add-ons, they still find themselves managing a majority of their operations on spreadsheets. This is, clearly, not a sustainable process.


When businesses reach the point that they feel they’ve outgrown QuickBooks and are ready to invest into their next system, instead of throwing away everything they’ve invested in (including QuickBooks) and migrating to Netsuite and Microsoft Dynamics, they can now seamlessly connect BizSlate to QuickBooks and get the same results as these larger systems, but with much less disruption to their business and at a much lower, overall, total cost of ownership (TCO). BizSlate, in essence, converts QuickBooks into an enterprise solution that is comparable with more expensive complex systems.


How can BizSlate effectively manage the disparity of business operations in one system and managing accounting within QuickBooks?

Kalman: BizSlate handles this really well. In general, BizSlate manages the entire operation, inclusive of customers, orders, inventory, and even accounting. BizSlate users, with permission, can manage invoices, returns, accounts receivable, and more, all from within the BizSlate interface. BizSlate seamlessly updates the general ledger of QuickBooks so accountants can run financial statements and do banking from the QuickBooks accounting system they are used to and comfortable operating in.


How does BizSlate help businesses to reduce cost of moving and storing products?

Kalman: BizSlate is designed the way small businesses operate, particularly when it comes to products and inventory, which are the backbone of many businesses. From tools that manage the relationship between master packs, pre-packs, and open stock to unlimited identifiers per product (which eliminate inventory disparity) to predictable availability to sell inventory, BizSlate improves inventory accuracy and tracking in a way that is comparable to large, expensive systems, but without their cost and complexity.


Does BizSlate address SCM execution, planning, or both?

Kalman: BizSlate can support both planning and execution across the supply chain. Our solution provides a clear view of inventory availability as well as order requirements, so it’s easy to see what is needed and to place orders to factories and suppliers, receive goods, and ship accurately and on time — all while maintaining a sustainable, lean, green supply chain.


Who is your target audience?

Kalman: Our software is made for small manufacturing and distribution businesses of up to $100 million in revenue with 100 employees or less. The majority of our customers are likely to have revenues of less than $50 million. These businesses sell products and services, and are impacted by the strains of a competitive, omni-channel environment which include revenue from large retail chains and department stores, boutiques and specialty shops, and operations that sell direct-to-consumer via online or catalog. While BizSlate has global potential, we are focusing first on solving the problems here in the United States and Canada.


I'd be curious to hear any general thoughts you have on market trends in SCM…

Kalman: Competition in the manufacturing and distribution markets has become fierce. It is global, it is omni-channel, and it is challenging to keep up with an effective and efficient supply chain. Surprisingly, the tools available for small- and medium-sized businesses to manage their supply chains have not kept up with demand, leaving many SMBs stuck trying to navigate through SCM obstacles with spreadsheets and macros. More than ever, small businesses need the power and efficiency of large expensive systems, but without the cost and complexity. That’s where BizSlate shines.


What’s the business model?

Kalman: BizSlate is cloud-based and accessible from any Internet browser, anywhere, and at any time. We’ve designed a system that is easy to learn and easy to use, all while empowering our customers with enterprise power, intelligence, and efficiency. We do all of this in an affordable, annual subscription model that can be categorized as operating expense instead of capital expense, and provides an overall lower total cost of ownership when compared to most systems. Our solution scales with our customers as their business grows so they do not feel they are paying extra for capabilities they are not using now, but can easily expand when the time is right.


Who are your competitors?

Kalman: On the larger end of the market, we effectively compete with Netsuite, SAP Business One, Microsoft Dynamics, and Sage. We also find ourselves winning business over smaller system competitors, such as Stitch Labs, Brightpearl, and Tradegecko.


How do you differentiate from your competitors?

Kalman: Historically, ERPs tend to start as accounting applications and move forward into order management and supply chain, which are not their core competencies. BizSlate’s management team has deep domain experience working with SMBs to help them improve their supply chain and operational efficiencies in difficult and often time-consuming scenarios. We’ve combined this expertise with the knowledge and needs of a customer steering committee that spans industry and business size. Every member of the steering committee has been involved in helping design and develop BizSlate, making it the first enterprise business management solution for SMBs written entirely from the perspective of the end user. The result is a system that is designed the way small distribution businesses operate, and not based on out-dated, accounting-based supply chain methodologies.


How does your technology differentiate from the competition and can you elaborate on the different technology deployed?

Kalman: Enterprise software generally falls into two categories. The first is those systems that have enterprise value. With enterprise value often comes technical and functional complexity, and as a result, these systems are more expensive and are targeted to larger enterprises. The second category, the small business application category, is where businesses find the easy and more affordable options. However, while affordable, these applications generally lack any significant return on investment and act instead as a temporary fix. BizSlate is the first Web-based solution for small businesses that combines these two categories, filling a huge gap of industry need by blending enterprise power and efficiency with ease-of-use, affordability, and mobility.


What business or technology could yours disrupt?

Kalman: BizSlate is changing the way small businesses manage their supply chain operations. We are disrupting the legacy ERP market for small- and medium-sized businesses by giving them the tools they need to succeed, but without the cost and complexity. Small businesses deserve better options than are available today. The current solution providers either do not understand what small businesses really need, or they don’t know how to solve the problem. I left my last company to solve this very problem, and our early success is evidence that we are on the right track to doing so.


Who founded the company, when? What can you tell me about the story of the company's founding?

Kalman: BizSlate was formed in October 2011 as the continuation of the vision I embarked upon when I co-founded my last company, eZCom Software, an SaaS EDI provider that had been proven to improve the supply chain efficiency of EDI relationships by as much as 90 percent over our competitors. As a result of our success in helping small businesses, we started receiving requests from our customers to help in key supply-chain and operational issues for their non-EDI customers. When I assessed the market, the problem was clear: the current systems were not adequately designed for SMBs. With extensive experience in supply chain technology as both a provider and practitioner, and fueled by my passion to help these businesses overcome bottlenecks and obstacles, I moved on from eZCom to start BizSlate.


Within a year of founding BizSlate, where we were mostly focused on software development, the company was honored by presenting at DEMO Spring 2012 in Silicon Valley, and was also selected as a finalist for Red Herring’s Top 100 Emerging Tech Companies of 2012. The company was written up in PCMag.com, Network World magazine, and ChainLink Research; we also received a mention in The New York Times as an upcoming Netsuite competitor. Fast-forward to 2015, and we’re now registering customers for BizSlate in production. The company continues with notable success, as evidenced by being selected as one of the top 20 ERPs for 2015 by CIOReview, a top 100 supply chain project for 2015 by Supply & Demand Chain Executive, and winning a spot in Red Herring’s 2015 Top Emerging Tech Companies for 2015.


As a company, we remain focused on helping small distribution businesses succeed by challenging the boundaries of old school, out-dated principles. We are committed to our customers and making a difference.


What is your distribution model? Where to buy BizSlate?

Kalman: BizSlate is available for production use. The best way to learn more is to contact us directly at 646-878-6405 or via www.bizslate.com. Also, keep an eye out for access to BizSlate via Intuit’s Apps.com marketplace. We look forward to helping you.


What’s next on your product roadmap?

Kalman: We have several innovative features planned that will continue improving the supply chain and operations of small distribution and manufacturing businesses. We are just getting started, and we are very excited about the long-term, positive impact we will have.


Awards: Top 20 ERPs for 2015, Red Herring’s Top 100 North America for 2015, Top 100 Supply Chain Projects for 2015, Top 100 Supply Chain Projects for 2014, Top 100 Supply Chain Projects for 2013, DEMO Spring 2012.


Website: www.bizslate.com

Twitter account: https://twitter.com/bizslate

LinkedIn account: http://linkd.in/1IOihUf

 

Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/BizSlate-275590659154197/timeline/


More Stories By Xenia von Wedel

Xenia von Wedel is a Tech blogger and Enterprise Media Consultant in Mountain View, serving clients in a variety of industries worldwide. She is focused on thought leadership content creation and syndication, media outreach and strategy. She mainly writes about Enterprise, B2B solutions, social media and open source software, but throws the occasional oddball into the mix. Buy her a coffee if you like her article: http://xeniar.tip.me

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