Rana Gujral, Co-Founder & CEOEntrepreneurs find inspiration through many ways. For Rana Gujral, the co-founder and CEO of TiZE, it’s cycling. “I have logged almost 2200 miles of riding since I bought my first road bike a year ago,” he says. Cycling has also given him some interesting leadership lessons that have impacted the way he runs TiZE. “I have decided to cycle 3000 miles this year; I just cycle more when I set goals,” he adds. On the similar ground, at TiZE, he has set a goal to reinvent the drab and archaic world of ERP systems by building modern, usable business software for one manufacturing vertical at a time. “Set towards this long term goal, our initial focus is on the specialty chemical vertical – an $800 billion industry,” says Gujral. The coatings industry, which is highly active in different manufacturing verticals from coating drugs to cars, is a rapidly growing market that is dependent on meeting specific customer, functional, and application needs.“These specialty chemical companies often run into unique challenges during product development. It’s a complicated process that requires frequent collaboration and lots of critical data,” explains Gujral. At one end, these companies have a choice to use complex and expensive ERP solution, which require many months of setup and integration, and on the other end, there are partial software solutions where they try to keep up with everything by spreadsheets. “The fact is that, we know the users hate spreadsheets. Hence, we introduced RealWork™,” quips Gujral.
Redefining the process management through RealWork
RealWork™is a software solution specifically designed by TiZE for specialty chemical businesses. The companies use it to move their entire lab work request process to the web, speed up project approvals, target real-time prospects, reduce input errors, and generate detailed analyses of lab. RealWork™ allows firms to fully customize their workflow management – in fact it was developed within CFS group, a multi-hundred million dollar specialty chemical holding company, as an organic response to the frustrations of inputting data, project prioritization, lab work tracking, missed opportunities, and communication between various departments. Stephen Kawaja, the Chief Strategy Officer and co-founder of TiZE is the co-owner of CFS group. Gujral along with Kawaja quickly realized that there was significantly greater value in spinning RealWork™ out as a SaaS for the entire industry. “At TiZE, we are passionate about solving real operational issues and enable real work that can easily defy ERP systems,” says Gujral. The biggest benefits of a cloud based business software setup such as RealWork™ is the usability and convenience for users who can access it from mobile devices wherever they are. “No more waiting for information that is being tied to the office computer, and no more risks of in-house server problems, upgrades and operating system downtimes,” he adds.
RealWork™ from TiZE was implemented at a Powder Coatings producer with over 5,000 current customers. “This customer was adding approximately 350 new customers a year and generating over $50 million in annual revenues,” says Gujral. The client created over 1,500 new products every year and has manufactured over 14,000 different products in the last three years. They currently operate two major facilities and 12 unique machines that run up to six discreet batches a day using over 300 raw materials with prices that change from monthly to daily. Prior to using RealWork™, the customer employed a paper-based system and kept project records in Microsoft Excel. Updates, changes, and information were communicated by phone and email. No system existed to share new developments or to generate leads. “Within one year of implementation of RealWork™, the customer enjoyed a 12.8 percent increase in average unit price of their product and a net increase of 2.4 percent in contribution margins.
Our mission is to provide innovative and industry specific solutions for the technology needs of new age manufacturing industries. TiZE strives to be the leading provider to companies in the specialty chemical industry for all of their software needs through its RealWork™ portfolio
They also tripled their list of active prospects and witnessed a revenue growth rate in Q4 that was double the average of prior three quarters,” he adds.
Customer service—the highest priority for TiZE
“Customer service is the single most important priority for us. At TiZE, we offer every customer, regardless of size, a personal on boarding experience, either on the phone or face-to-face,” says Gujral. This enables TiZE to understand their expected outcomes from using its product, address their specific needs and use-cases, and provide the solutions to help them succeed. “For us, customer service is not just a mechanism for ensuring customer satisfaction; we rely on it to help develop the vision and set the roadmap for the future of our business,” he adds.
To accomplish all this, Gujral applies a simple innovation philosophy for TiZE– “We humanize software experience through discover, design, and deliver,” extols Gujral. During the ‘discover’ phase the company meets with stakeholders from target industry to understand the challenge at-hand and create a problem definition. Next, the company conducts comprehensive research, which includes observations and interviews with users and subject matter experts and derives insights and principles to execute its ‘design’ phase. “Finally, during the ‘deliver phase’ we start implementing functional prototypes, by applying technology. Core features are selected, architectural decisions are made and software gets written,” explains Gujral.
By looking beyond the product to take a broader view of customer issues and activities around the product, TiZE is able to find new ways to address unmet needs, create talk-worthiness, and fuel differentiation. “Most business software solutions tend to box various organizational functions into modules and create static workflows. Users are then expected to ‘adapt’ to the software,” states Gujral. In contrast, TiZE advocates the idea that the software should ‘adapt’ to how people work in real world. “RealWork™ is organic, flexible and adaptable,” he adds.
Going forward, Gujral visualizes TiZE to aggressively work towards its next generation product that will have a full-featured multi-tenanted SaaS offering, expected to launch around fall of 2015. While staying focused within the specialty chemicals vertical, TiZE looks forward to expand its core product offering to include specializations such as liquid coatings, adhesives, and others. “We are also working with other industry partners to bring specialized business software for the power generation sector,” concludes Gujral.