The worlds of low-code and no-code are really taking off, and starting to make convincing inroads into the realm of Supply Chain.
To find out more about how low-code and no-code can help supply chains I invited Gabriel Paunescu, CEO of Naologic, a no-code enterprise SaaS platform to come on the podcast to have a quick chat about this.
We had an excellent conversation and, as is often the case, I learned loads, I hope you do too...
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To learn more about how Industry 4.0 technologies can help your organisation read the 2020 global research study 'The Power of change from Industry 4.0 in manufacturing' (https://www.sap.com/cmp/dg/industry4-manufacturing/index.html)
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How do you get a vendor that's communicating with you the latest inventory that you need for an ongoing project as part of construction? Why doesn't that vendor just log in update and be done with it? Or why don't you just connect each other via API and make that synchronized data instantly? Well, it's because it's too expensive. That's where no code comes in, where all these crazy ideas which now are ridiculously expensive to implement, they become easy and fast.Tom Raftery:
Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, wherever you are in the world. This is the digital supply chain podcast, the number one podcast focusing on the digitization of supply chain. And I'm your host, global Vice President at SAP. Tom Raftery. Hi, everyone. Welcome to the digital supply chain podcast. My name is Tom Raftery, with SAP. And with me on the podcast today, I have my special guest, Gabriel Gabriel, would you like to introduce yourself?Gabriel Paunescu:
Yeah. Hi. So my name is Gabriel. I'm the CEO of Naologic. We're a no code platform for small and medium sized businesses to build back office applications without developers.Tom Raftery:
Okay, so that kind of gives it away sort of what no code is getting, you know, back end without developers. But you know, for anyone who is unaware, could you just explain what no code is?Gabriel Paunescu:
Yeah, so no, no code actually has been around since the early 2000s. It used to be called business process management, BPM tools, where you draw a process and it's somewhat automates the building blocks and build something as technology has evolved. Now, it's much more complex, you can build mobile applications, you can build many websites, or in our case, you can build dashboards and like full FEMA controls. For your back office, the difference between now code and low code is local, you actually have to write a little bit of code. But you get you get stuff done a lot faster, for example, to developers in a low code environment can do what then do in a normal coding environment without having the risk of failing infrastructure or other or other problems. Okay, soTom Raftery:
if this no code and low code as well means you don't need nearly as many developers, why isn't everyone doing it?Gabriel Paunescu:
Everyone is doing it actually, most there are. There are quite a few enterprise companies. SAP has a big deal with APM, which is the market leader in the enterprise space for now called Siemens just bought mendix. huge company been around forever. So everybody's doing a move in the noco, play Amazon and Google, they already moved in an ACO play with some little with some tools to help you make small applications, but they will move they will move a lot faster. The thing is making complex workflows. So not just the simple form and table. It's possible since two three years ago, before the coding was the coding was too complicated to actually automate that far.Tom Raftery:
Okay, and what changed,Gabriel Paunescu:
changed it, we have new frameworks out there that are very high performing and look very well, user interface and user interface design is much more is much easier than it used to be. You have a lot of ready made components that you can just connect them together. You have data aggregators, this is this was the key, the no code industry, you have these companies, which basically create a bridge between two API's. And you integrate one API and you instantly have access to Sage to SAP NetSuite, everybody. And this helps out a lot because you don't have to manage all that infrastructure. And also, this is a big part because anyone who tries out no code, they start by importing data, so the easier it is for them to start seeing their own data, the easier it is to adapt Naugle.Tom Raftery:
Okay. And this is the digital supply chain podcast, or what has no code, you know, to do with supply chain, how can it help supply chain?Gabriel Paunescu:
Well, supply chains have changed, especially both COVID. The problems are more complex, there's synchronous communication, there's asynchronous communication. vendor collaboration is more important than than always, there's new rules and regulations around payments and what's allowed for example, we have a customer telling us that the hospital informed them that they're no longer allowed to pay by cheque to send by mail because of risk of health risks and whatever so they need to move to a new infrastructure but this means managing invoices differently communicating with your vendors differently, checking stocks more often trying to work with new partners from New geographies a lot better. And this all sums up in the New Age of basically collaborative supply chain, where you don't just have the classic manufacturing side where a product gets delivered to the warehouse, and that's gonna, then it just leaves, it becomes a lot more complicated. And there's a lot more actors, they need to collaborate faster.Tom Raftery:
Okay, can you give me some examples of, you know, no code in a supply chain environment?Gabriel Paunescu:
Yeah, well, we actually recently had a case with a medical distributor that works with about 80 plus vendors. And all of a sudden, they needed to worry a lot more about inventory, they needed to check inventory levels more often, they needed to handle different types of ordering patterns. If before, hospitals were just reorder, and small medical practices will just reorder once a month. Now, it's a bit chaotic, sometimes every two weeks, sometimes sometimes every three months, depending on what types of equipment and numbers of patients. And so what they needed was a solution, where the vendors can also log in, they can check statuses of orders, upload statuses update inventory, so they can go and distribute faster to their customers. And also payment integration. So payment integration via bank account. So directly, the customer can pay by bank account, and the vendor gets paid automatically. Because cash flow is becoming more more and more important. If before, 90 day vendor payments were completely fine. Now they're asking for 30 days. So that makes it a bit more complicated on the cash flow side. And this all adds up to you either do it manually and stay on the phone all day long. Or you find a way to help them log in into a little vendor portal and the customer on the ordering side, automate via email and try to connect yourself to the asynchronous channels of communication, and just make it easy to pay to deliver the update and to collaborate. Okay, for people who might be interested in something like this is is what you're offering? Is it a? Is it a no do give it do give it to people on a CD? Do they log in and access it? And after logging into accessor? How's it accessing the data in their systems or,Tom Raftery:
you know, walk me through how all thatGabriel Paunescu:
works? Yeah, so they basically start on our website, we have some ready made applications that they can just start with. And when they need something custom, there's two options. There's the builder, which is where you try to build it yourself. Or if it's something more complex, or you just don't want to do it, you can just ask us. And we can explore a little bit your options provide pricing. But you could just start, you could just start on our website checkout in 30 minutes, you're up and running. That's the system and see if it see if it works for you. Okay, and in the in the in the ones that are available to you. I'm guessing you have kind of a library of applications, they're available. Are there supply chain themed ones available there? Or are they would somebody need to build a moat immediately? No, there are already so for everything that wholesale b2b wholesale, we have an entire suite for vendor vendor portal, vendor login, vendor management, profiles, dashboards, customer dashboards, inventory levels, we're also releasing something very, very novel on the inventory side with automated stock pumps, automated reordering and some other rule sets. So those are already made. But since every business is unique, and they have different different needs, they're probably going to ask for some customizations. Luckily, most customizations that we get asked for are free, because because of our platform, it's easy and fast for us to do it. So they they just we just get them for free.Tom Raftery:
Nice. Nice. What does that mean, in terms of ROI for for customers?Gabriel Paunescu:
Oh, well, the thing is, in terms of ROI, we're seeing pretty spectacular results, because we're slowly trying to educate the customer to stop thinking in implementation period. So companies kind of timebox the innovation that they do on the system to, I don't know, six months one year implementation, and then that's it. They're just supposed to execute forever on that fixed system. We're trying to take it to the point where you can experiment, you can install a new app, you can try something. If you have an ID Manager and you're trying to connect with multiple companies, you can deploy one app for each one of those companies. So in terms of ROI, we're trying to make it like a iteration. So we're helping companies iterate on their business process. Which means in the long term, they're going to find a lot better solutions than just just the simple implementation and execution.Tom Raftery:
Okay. Will I mean, does this mean that the the days of coding are over, you know, at least for the the most basic functionality that you require? Is it No, a whole new, brave new world of no code and low code?Gabriel Paunescu:
Not really, I think the days of coding are just beginning. Mostly because there's some, there's some staggering facts. For example, in California, there's seven open positions for each coder. So basically, the market, the demand is so high, that low code is just going to fill in some gaps in that market. There, it's also going to be more appealing to companies maybe don't have the budget, the time or maybe they just can stomach the risk of such a such a big change, like changing the system that just like SAP changing SAP, that's a huge risk with too many, with too many parameters to actually consider. So actually no code, what it does, it fills in the blanks of activities that were not done and should be done. A great example is FileMaker. So FileMaker is very, very old company. It was bought by Apple A long time ago. And it's Apple has been using it to create internal tools since early 2000. Right, so they understood that innovate fast, you need good internal tools, you need to build them yourself, you need to keep the knowledge in house, you can just outsource every time. So what we're trying to do is we're trying to bring the mindset that very large, more modern companies that companies have, we're trying to bring it to everybody. So you can install your own builder and keep everything in house and build for your company and experiment internally, until you find what works for you. And then you just go on and you know, continue to innovate.Tom Raftery:
Okay. And if people have, you know, hopefully, nice big SAP systems. How do I know when low code systems connect to that?Gabriel Paunescu:
One example would be we recently had an inquiry for a workforce management tool. So they had SAP, they had an upline for the planning. They had SAP as a main repository. But that was it, you have planning, you have executive, you have Treasury, so they had all the major departments. But in the field, the actual workers in the field, they have nothing, they just submitted Excel files. So that's what no code would fit, for example, this was for Workforce Training, and also for also for attributions, or dynamic workforce. And they needed to be attributed to different retail locations, depending on load and planning. But there was no feedback from the field. So the reports were just Excel files done by managers and most of the time forgotten. And what no code would do is with give a little, a little app to the workers in the field, where they can report the number of hours where they can pick up their new location where they can check their schedule, where they can see some information, where they can get some new orders, or some notifications. And all of those will be synchronized back to SAP to create the full overview, not just planning, not just the planning, but also the results and the actual facts from the field. And that's, that's pretty much what no code is gonna do. It's just gonna fill in the blanks, and basically just get data from in the field, get it back to planning and see plan versus actual, how does it look? Interesting, interesting.Tom Raftery:
So one of the things I do in SAP is I'm a futurist and how I explain what that job entails to people is, I say, I plot trend lines, you know, I look at where things were in the past, where things are today. And then I project forward. Well, you know, that's where it's going to go next. Logically, given that it's been there, it's now here. That's the kind of direction of travel. So if we're looking at, you know, there was cold, then low code, no code.Gabriel Paunescu:
What's next? Next is actually something that we're already working on. Next is bridging the gap between natural language and code. So basically, you're having a conversation with a chatbot that collects information and asks question questions. And the result is a system an app. So instead of doing all the drag and drop your And trying to figure out the process with a processes from millions of companies. And we automate those by industry, by geography by types. And then within a conversation about your business, you could actually build that system. So predictability, think of it as a. So you have really good eirp consultants that come to big companies, and they lay out strategies, and they say, Oh, God, okay, you guys need SAP because of this, this and that, right? Those guys are three 4000 a day at least, to get to work with you. And the results show, right? They do get ROI. But that's not really for everyone. So not everyone is going to be able to do that. So but if we crowdsource, and gather that information, and then distributed for lower subscriptions, then we can automate for smaller companies, not for large corporations, for smaller companies, we can automate a lot of that. So think of it as an AI, business consultant, that has a lot of data points in mind. They know a lot about process. They've seen the results, because we're connected also in the financial results. So they know what works. They know what worked for different companies, and they propose to you the same thing. Interesting. Interesting. And what's the business model and for no logic, subscription model. So we're going just ask their subscription model, and there's some usage fees for bigger customers, they have usage fees. We also have an enterprise option where customers can deploy on their own infrastructure. So they own the code. They own the data. Very important, big companies love that. Yeah. And we just try to keep it as simple as possible.Tom Raftery:
Okay. Okay. Very good. We are coming now, Gabriel, to the end of the podcast. Is there anything that I've not asked you that you wish I had? Or is there any topic we've not touched on that you think it's important for people to be aware of,Gabriel Paunescu:
I think people don't don't yet realize how big of a problem bad code is. And I don't think they realize how much money they're leaving at the table, but not trying to innovate. stripe estimates, bad code in enterprise, the cost $300 billion worth of damages every single year. Why? Because you just advance with a technology you try to add on top. And that becomes unmanageable at one point. But companies keep ignoring this, because they think about the cost of change, but don't really think about how much money they're actually leaving at the table by not trying new things, not trying to connect the new data sources not trying to collaborate differently and collaborate faster. So I think I think we're still, they were still a bit stuck in this. In this two is basically two sides to business. There's email and phone on one side, which is the normal, and then we have some sort of boring input. Input there, we have to put in the system, you got to put in your leads, you got to put in your transactions you got to put in. And then there's the whole magic of automation and RPA, which grew really fast, which kind of bridges that a little. But the next step after RPA is to think smarter, like how do you get a vendor that's communicating with you the latest inventory that you need for an ongoing project as part of construction? Let's say, why doesn't that vendor just log in, update and be done with? Or why don't you just connect to each other via API and make that synchronized data instantly? Well, it's because it's too expensive. That's where no code comes in, where all these crazy ideas which now are ridiculously expensive to implement, they become easy and fast. But there's one prerequisite you have to want to innovate. That's the most important part and that's still a problem but hopefully it's going to change.Tom Raftery:
Okay, cool. Gabriel if people want to know more about yourself or about no logic or about no code, low code, or any of the things we discussed today on the podcast, where would you have me direct themGabriel Paunescu:
so Gabriel at now logic comm my email, email me anytime now logic comm you can find us we have a live chat. We have a live chat, email LinkedIn same. I'm going to drop my LinkedIn in the description. Just connect talk if you have any. If you want to know more about no code, and if you have some some problems that you've been trying to solve for years, but the high cost of implementation didn't allow you. Let's talk about it. Let's see. Maybe we find a solution.Tom Raftery:
super great. Gabrielle, it's been fantastic. Thanks a million for coming on the podcast today. Thank you so much for having me. Okay, we've come to the end of the show. Thanks, everyone for listening. If you'd like to know more about digital supply chains head on over to sa p.com slash digital supply chain or, or simply drop me an email to Tom Raftery at sa p.com. If you'd like to show, please don't forget to subscribe to it and your podcast application of choice to get new episodes as soon as they're published. All Also, please don't forget to rate and review the podcast. It really does help new people to find the show. Thanks. Catch you all next time.