First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Olivier AUDINO: My family and I are based in Toronto, Canada, and we’re doing well. We had the chance not to be in our native country (France) during the lockdown; thus, we continue working as “usual.”
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Sourcing Force.
Olivier AUDINO: I founded Sourcing Force 8 years ago after 10 years working in global procurement departments around the world such as GE, UTC, and Group SEB. Then I decided to create Sourcing Force to leverage the digitization of procurement. For 8 years, we focused on developing a customer focus strategy, which helped us grow by 100% every year and reach a $15M turnover today.
How does Sourcing Force innovate?
Olivier AUDINO: We provide a full Cloud Source-to-Pay solution for SME and global companies that need to control spending, streamline procurement, and purchasing processes. Not as software but an online application as easy to use as Amazon but for B2B relationships.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Olivier AUDINO: Most of our prospects have cut off all their budgets right after April 2020 and remain at least till the end of 2020. So, our project deployment has been cancelled and/or postponed to 2021. Only customers who are already engaged in the process have pursued the deployment from September, meaning 5 months late.
In the meantime, we focused on improving the functionalities of Sourcing Force. We also focus on our current customers to support them during the pandemic. For example, we supplied millions of masks and gloves from China to support our customers and avoid their factories’ closure.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Olivier AUDINO: I decided to trust in the future and invest more during the pandemic to take all benefits of the “re-start” of the economy. We hired 4 new talents and opened now technological markets. This period might be a good opportunity for entrepreneurs to launch new projects while others are too afraid to enter the market.
We also enforced online management to help all employees whenever they experience any difficult moment during the lockdown.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Olivier AUDINO: Stress and anxiety are part of an entrepreneur job. We faced many difficulties in the past year. This pandemic is spectacular and impacts all companies, and only those with good vision can move forward and remain solid in the coming years.
My family has also been supportive where doubts surface while social relationships are key during any crisis.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Olivier AUDINO: Most of my competitors are big US-based companies such as SAP Ariba, Coupa, Ivalua… We are solving the same procurement weaknesses, but we tend to deliver more flexible and qualitative softwares. So, our customers do not need to invest huge budget for a long time and can choose Sourcing Force as a good alternative.
Your final thoughts?
Olivier AUDINO: Only the most resilient companies will survive. We need to see opportunities when everyone sees threats. That’s my positive vision. Hope I’ll be right!