Excess Inventory Costs Manufacturers Millions. This Startup Is Helping Them Go Lean

Paul J. Noble spent over 10 years in industrial manufacturing supply chain operations for global home supply company Sherwin-Williams. During that decade, he observed the lack of optimization surrounding parts inventory, and the increasing costs that fragmentation caused. The main cause was a lack of visibility between suppliers, distributors and manufacturers.

Noble left his role to found AUTIT, which initially was a sales enablement platform that helped distributors and suppliers better serve manufacturers by providing analytics and automated proposals. After a year of developing the product, Noble saw a disconnect with his customers as they weren’t as tech-enabled as he expected — most didn’t even use a CRM platform. He pivoted.

“We could’ve built a good business from our initial startup, but it was a struggle. Our customers weren’t ready and that became clear as we talked and listened to them. It was frustrating for us because everyone loved our solution, but the timing wasn’t right,” says Noble.

In 2017, the team began to target the other side of the supply chain — how can they help those large manufacturers run leaner operations and stay on top of their parts inventory.

Many of their plants carry a large amount of parts inventory on hand due to the fact that any downtime can be costly.

Noble shares that based on his previous experience, the average Fortune 500 manufacturer has anywhere from $40-60 million in wasted working capital tied up in excess parts (and up to $100 million for just four weeks of inventory in some industries).

Following the pivot to their new audience, AUTIT is now an artificial intelligence-powered inventory platform that analyzes the manufacturer’s parts inventory to avoid the high cost of holding too much, and reduce it to an optimal level. That process is now usually conducted manually over decentralized databases.

“We began developing a product that would help clean up that data information and help them clean up their supply chain and optimize their inventory,” he says. On average, AUTIT can reduce inventory by 30 percent in year one, according to Noble.

The platform predicts inventory levels based on historical data, optimizes current data to reflect accurate numbers and eliminates data silos (often from frequent mergers and acquisitions with other companies) to streamline costs and make the supply chain run faster and more lean.

According to Noble, AUTIT’s inventory solution stands out from other offerings in the supply chain industry as it goes beyond data harmonization and merging to actually showing the company’s ROI as it relates to the inventory. It also tracks the movements of the product through the supply chain and can integrate with SAP, Salesforce, Oracle and more.

The Atlanta-based startup is working on a SaaS enterprise model, based on the number of a manufacturer’s plant locations. Clients can have between 25-100 plants at one time.

As they’re in the midst of raising their $2.5 million seed round, Noble shares that he hopes to grow the engineering and sales/marketing teams. The company is housed at Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) incubator.