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FreightWaves3 min read

Slync CEO joins SAP.iO leadership to discuss corporate innovation, startup engagement in Tokyo

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Slync CEO Chris Kirchner was in Tokyo this week to meet press, speak with startups and participate in customer discussions at the SAP.iO Foundry—Tokyo ecosystem engagement event. SAP.iO is the strategic business unit of SAP investing in and accelerating early-stage startup innovation helping SAP customers realize new, highly incremental value from their investments SAP products. In addition to participating with SAP.iO, Kirchner traveled to Japan to connect with SAP customers there and learn about the challenges facing Japanese businesses that Slync’s platform can address.

SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) is one of the world’s largest enterprise software companies, with more than 300,000 customers in 180 countries. SAP.iO works with external startups in two key ways: an investment fund (SAP.iO Fund), and a global network of top-tier programs for startups (SAP.iO Foundries) that provide startups access to curated mentorship, and exposure to SAP technologies, and opportunities to meet and collaborate with SAP customers. So far, SAP.iO Foundries are located in San Francisco, New York City, Tel Aviv, Berlin, and Paris, and expects to launch new locations next year, including in Asia Pacific.

Kirchner spoke about Slync and the company’s experience as a member of the 2018 cohort at the SAP.iO Foundry in San Francisco throughout the two days of events in Tokyo.

“Slync is enterprise-first, solving exception management challenges across the global supply chain,” Kirchner said. “We believe that many other startups and SAP customers can benefit from engaging with SAP.iO Foundries around the world.”

Slync’s platform sits on top of traditional supply chain enterprise software like SAP and Oracle, collects data, aggregates it, and provides real-time multi-party views. Customers can use this new visibility and data aggregation to solve critical challenges like exception management in their logistics operations resulting in new efficiencies and cost reductions. Collaborators across the supply chain can see the data they need when they need it, without relying on inefficient, error-ridden manual communications processes like email.

According to a recent study by McKinsey, automation and machine learning deployed in the supply chain can generate value nearly on par with the financial services sector—the difference between finance and logistics is that logistics is still considered a tech laggard. Slync emphasizes to its customers that it’s best to start small, with incremental improvements in processes and data sharing; Slync’s engineers have built reusable solutions to make different ERP platforms talk to each other in a matter of a few weeks, and then build out a customer’s version on an as-needed basis as the client realizes ROI.

“It is often the ‘simple’ processes that result in biggest slowdowns or inefficiencies. Companies can make significant strides by reducing costly human error and time to decision through automation of these ‘simple’ processes,” Kirchner said to FreightWaves.

PricewaterhouseCoopers recently listed a set of features they believe defines the digital supply chain: integrated planning and execution, logistics visibility, procurement 4.0, smart warehousing, efficient spare parts management, autonomous and B2C logistics, and prescriptive supply chain analytics.

In our view, Slync’s platform can help companies check all of the ‘digital supply chain’ boxes, especially in integrated planning and execution (real-time multi-party collaboration), visibility, and predictive analytics. By working so closely with an enterprise software giant like SAP, Slync’s engineers are able to reach deeper into their clients’ operations, lifting data to the surface so that it can be analyzed by Slync’s AI platform and acted upon by human operators.

“It has been exciting to witness the growth of Slync over the past year,” said SAP.iO Managing Director Ram Jambunathan. “The strong reception by SAP customers to Slync’s solution really demonstrates Slync is addressing real, high value pain points that global logistics players have been challenged to solve. It’s a great demonstration of the ‘win-win-win’ SAP.iO Foundries enable—value creation for customers, business benefit for startups, and strategic impact for SAP, and it is a privilege and honor to have Slync as an SAP.iO Foundry alumnus.”

“We are excited to continue partnering with SAP on shared customers globally,” Kirchner said, citing the benefits Slync has already received by partnering so closely with SAP and learning alongside other startups at the SAP.iO Foundry in San Francisco.