Elementum Does Mobile End-to-end SCM

After about two years of stealth operation, Elementum, a novel mobile cloud platform for holistic supply chain management (SCM), announced that it has more than $60 million in funding and several major customers. The Silicon Valley-based startup has $44 million in Series B funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Flextronics (which was also the major pilot customer) and brand name customers like Dyson and Enphase Energy Inc. Elementum is currently 55 employees strong and growing.
These days, shorter product lifecycles and instant consumer feedback are the new norm.Drawing upon his experience in supply chain and cloud computing, the company’s founder Nader Mikhail saw an opportunity for a simple solution to address the complex issues facing today’s supply chains. The goal is real-time visibility into their supply chain using visually appealing bite-sized apps for managing risk, monitoring key performance indictors (KPIs), and tracking shipments.
Elementum offers simple and intuitive mobile software that users can actually use and understand in order to see exactly where every part, component, and finished good is manufactured, supplied, and distributed all over the world. All customers have to do is download an app, log in, and go. Under the hood lies a platform built from the ground up using the latest in scalable big data technologies, such as flexible schema databases, representational state transfer (REST)-based application programming interfaces (APIs), and Hadoop.

True Big Picture Value Prop
At the most basic-level, E2open, SAP Ariba, JDA Software, and other SCM software players, are only solving one piece of the supply chain problem. In the case of E2open, it has been focused on fulfillment or order collaboration, and now, with the recent acquisition of icon-scm, on rapid planning and response. But Elementum believes that there is no technology provider in the market today that is taking a holistic approach to providing visibility across an end-to-end supply chain.
With Elementum, one can have a single platform and common set of data on top of which are bite-sized apps combined to solve specific supply chain problems. Because these apps share the same platform and data, one can obtain, for example, the following insights:
  • How does a port strike affect my ability to satisfy demand for a particular customer or product? (risk management combined with fulfillment)
  • What will be the change in supplier on-time delivery as a result of shipments predicted to be late? (transportation management combined with supply chain analytics)
  • As a common component manufacturer (e.g., Intel), how do I measure a KPI such as order cycle time across all my customers (e.g., Dell and HP)? (supply chain network analytics)
Collaborative planning across the supply chain has been attempted many times. While Elementum has the technical wherewithal to disrupt the SCM market, time will only tell how easy it is to change mindsets. Few lower-level or even upper-level participants want to be really transparent. Most players in the middle tiers will supply or buy from multiple parties. When this happens, their other customers don't want their direct competitors to see those transaction details and possibly impact their business.

It will be interesting to watch whether Elementum will be able to compete (or perhaps even collaborate) with the likes of Tata, Accenture, etc., as many contract manufacturers have managed business process outsourcing (BPO) procurement services by these companies.
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