Why did we launch ShowSourcing?
A post written by the founders
In January, 2015, we were just a bunch of enthusiasts – always excited about the great new products coming out all the time. We were always judging products – not just on what they could do, but on their design, the foresight of the developers, and even those small things you can’t live without but never consider. We followed Apple’s newest releases religiously, scrutinized new fashion trends, devoured industry news… we loved seeing how products could make life more enjoyable for people in ways we hadn’t considered.
But we could never understand why some companies seemed to take so much longer than others to release their new products. Didn’t they have a process that helped them keep things moving faster than THIS?
And that’s what we were discussing one day when Lionel, CEO of Plastoria and one of our future crew of fearless founders, made a very simple statement. “You know product development is a completely chaotic process, don’t you?”
Well that set us off. We spent the next hours, days, weeks, and months getting to the bottom of the real reason that sourcing was such a mess. The real thing it was missing.
So we started speaking to everyone we could find. We wanted to know what their biggest issues were. What problems needed fixing, and what inefficiencies were hampering them the most. After hundreds of these interviews we started to crack the door on the problem: Big companies have saddled their employees with rigid processes and overly complicated systems. So, instead of doing what they were born to do – create incredible products – most of the time employees were filling in data sheets.
But that was just the smallest epiphany. The real moment of awe came when we got hands on. We went to Canton Fair – the biggest trade fair in the world – just to watch buyers interact.
It was a catastrophe.
Notebooks, trolleys, piles of catalogues … what a mess.
And this is the point that our love for products and our obsession with tech combined into the perfect storm. We walked away from Canton that year completely set on changing this surprisingly archaic industry for the better.
ShowSourcing was born out of necessity. People were still going to trade fairs the way they did 20 years ago. And in a world that’s changing rapidly – one that’s trending toward the death of traditional sourcing – this style of work was completely unsustainable.
So we dug in deeper.
We developed the first ShowSourcing app to help buyers take better and faster notes. Then we started showing it off, and buyers loved it. Every person we showed our app to at the next trade fair had the same moment of epiphany. The same “this is going to change my life” reaction. And the same thing to say – “I wish I thought of that!”
So, end of story, right? The hero gets the customer and rides off into the sunset, doesn’t he? Absolutely not. Taking better notes at fairs was just step one. We wanted to do more.
So we dug in deeper.
We noticed that, even though our customers were already far more efficient at fairs, they still didn’t collaborate the way we thought they should. Many still needed 6 months or a year to develop a new product. But how were companies like Inditex going through this whole development cycle in TWO WEEKS? The answer was easy – simplified processes. And we wanted to make that possible for our customers as well. That was the answer we were looking for.
So to improve those processes, we integrated workflows, improved team communication, and simplified task management. That blew the doors open. By simply having a visual overview of their products’ respective statuses, customers instantly reported improved processes.
They weren’t just moving faster, they were moving smarter.
But, I have to admit, we still weren’t satisfied. Sure, now we have thousands of merchandising teams using ShowSourcing and drastically improving their own processes. But something was still missing.
So we dug in deeper.
We saw it almost instantly. We needed to include one more vital part of the sourcing process. Possibly the most important person outside a buyer’s organisation: the supplier. We realized that merchandising teams could be buying year round by staying connected with their suppliers. And that’s when we included supplier connect.
With supplier connect, our customers have been able to communicate directly with their suppliers, send and review RFQs, and reach agreements, directly through ShowSourcing. No more email blitzes. Just results.
And that’s not even the most amazing part of this journey. The best part? Our first launch was in 2017. In less than two years, We’ve improved lead times by 50%, reduced costs, and helped thousands of buyers get products to market faster than they thought possible.
So now after all that – after the incredible lead times, and the massive growth, and the smooth, easy to use technology – NOW are we done?
No. We’re going to dig in deeper.
Antoine, Gauthier, Lionel and Gatien
Working relentlessly to help teams develop great products faster.