Jonathan Porter is the founder and CEO of PorterLogic, a flexible supply chain application platform.
After graduating with a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech — where he was also a Denning Technology and Management scholar, Jonathan spent his career working with supply chain and business intelligence software at both large, established firms — such as Manhattan Associates — as well as startups.
He founded PorterLogic in November, 2020 to help high-growth bands modernize their supply chain technology and better manage their supply chain operations.
What You’ll Learn in This Episode
- Significant pain points high-growth supply chain teams face
- Things supply chain teams can do when systems start breaking
- Actionable ways supply chain teams can streamline their operations and increase revenue
- Why brands struggle with finding off-the-shelf supply chain software that meets their needs
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Atlanta Business Radio, brought to you by on pay. Built in Atlanta on pay is the top rated payroll and HR software anywhere. Get one month free at unpaid. Now here’s your host.
Stone Payton: Welcome to another exciting and informative edition of Atlanta Business Radio. Stone Payton here with you this afternoon. Please join me in welcoming to the broadcast CEO with PorterLogic. Mr. Jonathan Porter. Good afternoon.
Jonathan Porter: Sir. Good afternoon. Thanks for having me.
Stone Payton: Well, it is a delight to have you and to have you in studio with us. I have so been looking forward to this conversation. I got a ton of questions. We probably won’t get to them all, but I think a great place to start would be if you could articulate for me and our listeners mission purpose. What are you and your team really out there trying to do for folks?
Jonathan Porter: Yeah, great place to start. So Porter Logic is a supply chain application platform for supply chain. So we are really trying to help supply chain and operations teams better manage the way that they fulfill inventory, better manage their purchase orders, really just try and get things to a place that they are not struggling with their software. Right? So many people in the supply chain industry are like the offensive lineman of the business world. We get all the blame and none of the credit. And so we’re just trying to actually give supply chain teams the software that they need to run their business and not have to fight with it and work around the way that systems work today.
Stone Payton: So have you found yourself gravitating to certain types of companies or industries or sectors? Is there a sweet spot?
Jonathan Porter: Yeah, we really try and go after mid-market companies. We find that there’s a really underserved niche in there because there’s a lot of real small business software out there. If you’re kind of just getting started, there’s a lot of enterprise software out there that’s, you know, these big legacy systems that have been around for 20, 30 years. But there’s a middle market of companies, especially fast growing high growth companies, whether that’s venture backed or whether you’ve just, you know, gotten on to, you know, some product market fit and just exploded. But the software for that segment of customers is really lacking right now. And especially when you look at certain industries like food, food and beverage distribution has a lot of nuanced requirements around storage temperatures and data requirements of what you report on. And so you can find some industries that just have some real specific requirements around the way that their supply chain operates. And that is then also even more so of a challenge to get software to work for your company. So yeah, we do a lot of food and beverage, CPG, retail companies, pharma, pharma distribution has tons of regulations, alcohol distribution. So there’s a lot of these little segmented industries that that need better software, but there’s just not a great way to get that for that middle market customer.
Stone Payton: It sounds like a noble pursuit, I can tell. I can see it in your eyes here in studio and I know that our listeners can can hear it over the airwaves. Your passion for the business, your enthusiasm for the business. I got to ask, man, what is the back story? How in the world does one find themselves as the CEO of an organization like this serving businesses like those?
Jonathan Porter: Yeah, So well, I started at Georgia Tech. I did industrial engineering there, and there’s a very heavy supply chain focus in industrial engineering. Naturally, I’m a very analytical and logical person, and the way it’s just fascinating to me, the way that a supply chain fits together, the way that all the different cogs in the wheel go together, you know, fitting warehousing and shipping and transportation, all of it together is just super interesting. So, yeah, I actually got my start at Manhattan Associates, though, right out of school, a large supply chain software vendor. I’ve worked for other startups. I’ve worked for other smaller consulting firms. And really I just I am a super nerd about supply chain. I mean, I will go on and on about this all day. The systems in warehousing, I mean, just how all the inventory I mean, it’s this it’s a beautiful orchestra of inventory moving between racks and pallets and all kind of stuff like so I mean, it really does just fascinate me. But I was also one of the ones that was boots on the ground for a long time. I mean, I was traveling almost every week implementing these major systems. I was I mean, they get you out of school and talk about how fun traveling is and then they send you to the middle of nowhere where all the warehouses are. And, you know, it’s great when you’re first out of school. And I look back on my time at these other firms with only positive things to say. But I’ve really have lived that journey of trying to get software that works for your particular business. And it’s just a huge struggle. It’s a I mean, the current systems is you just throw a lot of people, you throw a lot of money at it. And yeah, having been one of those people, I’m now on the other side trying to help companies solve that problem, you know, without all the money in people.
Stone Payton: So I got to believe it was it was it kind of daunting? Was it a little scary stepping out on your own, trying to build this thing with your own two hands?
Jonathan Porter: Yeah, no question. I mean, it’s intimidating. You know, I still struggle with imposter syndrome every day, but I come from a very entrepreneurial background, though. So my parents have owned a residential construction company for 40 years. I mean, my grandfather was a brick mason that worked for himself. And I mean, so I come from that background and. Saw it around the dinner table as a kid. I mean, my parents were always talking business. They worked in the business together, you know, And so I just grew up having that entrepreneurial side of me. I built my first website at 15, and then throughout all of high school and college, I had a side business where I was building websites and marketing collateral for Atlanta based real estate agents. So it’s been in my blood forever. I just had to get the timing right in a way. And so, yeah, it was about the kind of second half of 2019 when I actually first really started working for myself. I just was doing contract software development, trying to, you know, get something off the ground and but needed some revenue to come in. So, yeah, I started building websites for people, started building applications for people. But, you know, really just kind of figured it out along the way. And I think that that’s the best part about entrepreneurship in a way, right? Is you can just kind of figure it out on your own, on your own pace.
Stone Payton: Yeah, it’s the best and the worst of it, right?
Jonathan Porter: Absolutely. Yeah. No, and I don’t want to say I mean, it comes with a lot of, you know, trials and tribulations, right? I mean, like, it is difficult and I you know, I’ve had struggles with, you know, nights of anxiety and staying up awake and all of that kind of I mean, all of that is very true when you’re out on your own. So.
Stone Payton: So you touched on the void there in that middle market. What are some of the the pain points for these high growth supply chain teams that they’re dealing with?
Jonathan Porter: Yeah. So if you think about the way that a supply chain operates, right, you have to keep up with things like inventory data. You have to keep up with things like sales and demand data. You have to keep track of where all of your products are. And when you’re first starting out, if you know you’re just maybe one warehouse or maybe one three. Pl So third party fulfillment partners are called three POS. They’re separate companies that operate logistics networks for other companies. So if you only have maybe 1 to 3 POS, you’re really just starting to get your business off the ground. You’ve probably started doing a lot of things in spreadsheets and manually, and that’s actually a great thing at that point, right When you’re early on and when you’re first building a company, it’s not the time to make a major software investment. So you’re going to naturally start doing things, just kind of piecing it together and figuring it out. And that’s actually really the correct place to start. But you get to an inflection point where that all just starts breaking down and it starts breaking down very fast. So if you’ve started growing, you know, 100, 150% a year, you’re having to double your team, you’re having to expand your operations very rapidly. You’re having to add three POS, or maybe you’re starting to invest in your own warehouses. You know, maybe if you’re a transportation heavy company, you’re starting to invest in your own fleet of trucks. And so you just very quickly start having to expand operations. And that point is where it becomes very difficult to get software that works for the nuances of your business. So from the outside, everybody that is buying things online, they’re just clicking the buy button.
Jonathan Porter: They don’t have they don’t really understand what’s going on behind the scenes. But every distribution model has some real nuance and difference around it. So even things like buy online, pick up and store bopis, it’s a big thing where, you know, you can go online, you can buy something and then you can just go to the local store and pick it up, something even like that. It has these real nuanced requirements around how the fulfillment of that occurs. It’s just very different how you usually fill an e-comm order versus a retail order. And I know that’s getting in the weeds a little bit, but it’s that type of unique nuance that really makes it challenging to get software that works for the way that your business does. And it’s especially true in this middle market and that inflection point because really quickly, you need to scale up really quickly. You need to get software that works. But a traditional ERP implementation is usually a two year plus process. So an ERP is kind of the central core of a business system, an enterprise resource planning system. You usually have a lot of other supply chain systems that kind of fit around that. So you may have an inventory management system, you may have an order management system, you may have a transportation management system. But all of these major systems take a very long time to get up and running, especially when you start adding in layers of complexity around the way that a business operates. So yeah, that’s a lot of the problems that we try and solve and we do it for this underserved middle market customer.
Stone Payton: Well, and my observation with implementing ERP, you and I were talking before we came on air about I in a former life was on the periphery of the change management world, the human dynamics, the change management associated with implementing an ERP system. I mean, that’s wow, that’s a whole nother ballgame.
Jonathan Porter: Yeah, astronomical. I mean, and yeah, the people of all of this are the only thing that makes it work. And I mean, frankly, that’s part of the the what’s so interesting about supply chain and warehousing, I mean, it is the intersection of technology people and then a physical good right? At the end of the day you’re shipping a box from a point in, you know, a physical location to another place. Right. And there’s challenges around that. But then, yeah, making sure it works for the people because there’s always going to be people involved. I mean, that’s everybody’s been concerned about robots and automation taking all of our jobs and you know, especially in a warehouse setting that’s. Definitely not true. I mean, we’re far away from no people being, you know, in the warehousing fulfillment, you know, transportation world. And so but yeah, making it work for people is one of the hardest things. And we have found that the the closer the software is tailored to the way that those people want to work, the easier it is. Right? If they’re not having to change their process, if they’re not having to just force it into the system, it’s it just opens up a whole new door for them.
Jonathan Porter: Right. It’s even the little things about like does your product name, you know, field in your software, does that actually even match the way that they talk about products? Right. Sometimes there’s those little things around, like the words used in in in a screen, you know, on a piece of software that can throw people off there. Having to remember that reference. Field three Well, that’s actually our product velocity. And like, it’s just really it’s like it’s those things that trip them up, you know? So yeah, the more that you can get it to work for the way that a company works and then and you know, converse for the people really, right. The better that you can tailor your system to the way that your people work, the faster their work, the more efficiently they’ll work. And especially in today’s tough labor market, you know, you really want to retain your people, too. So, you know, if they’re fighting with systems all day, they’re not going to be as happy. They’re not going to be as productive.
Stone Payton: So how does the whole sales and marketing thing work for a firm like yours? Our clients who are experiencing these kinds of pains, are they finding you or you reaching out and trying to educate and inform these folks so that they know that there’s some alternatives available?
Jonathan Porter: Yeah, we do a lot of more of the outbound and educational side because traditionally there’s not really a great solve for this problem. So most of the time when you’re starting to talk about getting a system to work for a business, you’re either talking about manual workarounds. Work arounds is like the worst word in a warehouse, but it’s all over the place. So you’re either looking at a manual option or you’re looking at customizing those systems and customizing systems, which is writing real custom code on top of a WMS, on top of an ERP that comes with its whole host of challenges. I mean, not only is it very expensive, it’s very time consuming, but even maintaining that who’s going to maintain this new custom add on? How are you going to upgrade that over time? If you want to make a if you want to transition into a cloud based system from an on premise system, how are you ever going to transition these unique custom bolt on? So but yeah, we do a lot of education because those were really the only two options. You could either do it manually or you could change the software. And we’re kind of interjecting this middle ground where we sit on top of other systems, we sit in between other systems.
Jonathan Porter: We don’t make companies replace what they may already have. We can even work directly with spreadsheets. So that’s actually we’ve done a customer where their accounting team wanted to stay in spreadsheets. And as much as we were, you know, wanted to maybe fight that, we weren’t going to win that battle. So the supply chain team, though, needed better visibility. They needed, you know, a more efficient operation. So we let the accounting team stay in their spreadsheets and we just automatically pull data out of those spreadsheets and put them into the inventory management system. So, yeah, we really do try and just fit into the way that a company already works, while also then interjecting efficiencies, automating manual tasks, building systems that they need. Yeah. So it’s a really it’s a different approach. And that’s back to your question. I mean, that’s why we have to do more education is because like this is kind of a it’s a different alternative that, you know, getting people to realize that this is out there. Yeah, that’s kind of the marketing struggle that we have.
Stone Payton: So yeah, and the marketing opportunity, absolutely. I would think it would be incredibly rewarding to educate, inform folks and then kind of bring them into your circle. And then you’ve created an environment where you can genuinely, genuinely serve. So at this point in the development of your organization and the development of this market, what’s the most rewarding man? What’s what are you finding the most fun for you about it?
Jonathan Porter: Yeah, great question. There’s this pretty So on the back end of our software, there are these cool graphs that we can see of customer usage over time. So we can actually look at at one of our particular customers and see how much they’re using the product day to day. And every one of our customers, it’s this up into the right graph. And that’s really one of the most rewarding things, is that we can put a system in and over time see customers using it more and more because that really tells us that, okay, there, you know, we’re solving a problem for them. They’re logging in every day, they’re getting the information they need. And that to me, I mean, it really doesn’t all go back to the people. Like I mean, I said it earlier, but I was the one that was on the ground having to do this. And it was it’s you can burn out really quickly if all you’re having to do is manual data copying or fighting with a system to make it work. And so, yeah, just being able to see people and that were improving their day to day business life, it’s very rewarding.
Stone Payton: So it’s one thing for Jonathan Porter to have. This set of ideas, this ethos, this mindset of wanting to educate, inform, serve and really meet this, I think void was the right word. This, this, this, this market. Talk to us about building an organization though, that can because you’ve got to work with and through other people everything like recruiting, developing retaining. Speak to that if you would what it’s what it’s been like to build an organization that can do this at scale.
Jonathan Porter: Yeah. Know the internal team is one of the biggest things too, when you’re trying to build an early company. And so I will say I’ve had an immense amount of help, both from, you know, the friends that have been working with me from the beginning and are willing to work for for not market rate pay. But I also am very involved in an organization out of Atlanta called 80 DC, the Advanced Technology Development Center. It’s connected with Georgia Tech and it’s a state sponsored program actually, that really their goal is to bring technology jobs to Georgia. So I got involved with them actually when I first started working for myself in 2019 on their education side. So they actually just have a continuing education program where there teach you about entrepreneurship. They’ll teach you about Lean startup and customer discovery and how to identify a problem, and then also how to build an organization, how to scale, how to fundraise. Like all of these pieces, they have resources to help you. And so I credit them an immense amount with I mean, I was a I was the naive programmer that thought I could build a product in two or three months and, you know, somebody is going to come sell it.
Jonathan Porter: And it’s just not the way it works. But yeah, I’m really trying to just take advantage of as many resources as I can, you know, learn on my feet as much as I can. I think that’s one of the things that Georgia Tech set me up really well for. I don’t necessarily use much of my industrial engineering degree specifically, but the problem solving and the ability to be faced with a problem that you don’t know how to solve, but then figure out how to solve it. I think that’s one of the biggest things that engineering can bring. And that’s that is what I credit a lot of being able to build an organization, being able to build a team, being able to build a product like I just am constantly facing challenges that I’ve never faced before. But the fact that I’m confident in my ability to figure out how to solve it, that’s the biggest thing. So.
Stone Payton: So tell me a little bit about the work itself. Are there things that if I’ve identified maybe through the benefit of some of this education that I’m getting from tapping into your work or I’ve just I’ve felt enough pain, man. I got to get out. I got to have a conversation with Jonathan or someone on his team. Are there things that I should be doing to try to button things up, streamline the operation, or should I just come to you with my big mess like I do with my CPA, my shoe box full of receipts and say, Oh.
Jonathan Porter: No, good. Yeah, I know all too well. I used to do that too, with my CPA. He hated me, so no, he. So there are definite warning signs and things that you can look for as a business, and especially when it really starts with back to people. So if your people are fighting fires constantly, that is like one of the clearest warning signs that like something is breaking or something is wrong. And I mean, you’re always going to have people fighting fires to some degree. But if it’s a if it’s a constant, it feels like that your team can never quite get enough done if it feels like that. You know, they’re always trying to keep your systems up and running or, you know, they’re constantly fighting with customer support and having to refund orders. And there’s a lot of little warning signs. But generally speaking, if you that is one of the clearest signs that something is breaking down and you need to be looking at different systems or different processes because again, manual is great for a while. Doing it on spreadsheets is is the right approach from the beginning. But if you can then start identifying when those are breaking down before they’re really in a dumpster fire, because that’s the that’s the challenge that you want to avoid. Right. These systems do take time not only just to implement, but to be adopted and to really work themselves into the day to day of your team. And so you need to try and get ahead of that as much as possible. Now, looking for modular systems that you can put together specific to your needs is one of the other things, because you probably don’t need a entire ERP right off the bat, and that’s one of the things that some of the the legacy software is you kind of have to just implement all of it all at once, and that’s part of why it takes so long.
Jonathan Porter: So looking for systems that you can more specifically tailored to just the parts that you need and then being able to also bring them together. So you don’t also want to end up with siloed data. That’s one of the other big challenges, right? If you do end up with systems that are point solutions specific to that problem, you do need a way to kind of bring all of that back into one place or at least have them all talk and integrate together. But yeah, it is a the best thing you can do is try and get ahead of that and start talking to vendors or start talking to consultants. So especially in supply chain, there’s a rich ecosystem of third party consultants that are willing to come in and help you analyze and look at efficiencies and look at the way that you’re operating. One of the things that I used to do as a consultant, we would do a lot of value stream mapping. So if you actually you start at the very end of your process and work your way backwards. So for example, the very end of a process is the box gets to the customer. That’s the end of the shipping story. Work your way backwards and look at every place that that box stopped or where people had to touch it.
Jonathan Porter: And you can start identifying some of the low hanging fruit. So for example, maybe there’s a three day window where an order sits in a in processing status because your team is waiting, fulfilling that order before they’re shipping it out. Well, if you’re trying to hit two day delivery times, which Amazon has standardized for all of us, basically those you need to start trying to cut out some of that that fat in a way. Right. But like actually mapping it out and seeing where your inventory sits for periods of time where people are involved in that process, you can actually start identifying some of the areas where you may want to start automating, right? So there’s the tie in then to software is okay, that’s how you can start identifying. This is where I maybe need to interject a software solution. This is where I need to make a data integration automated and not just my people copying out of emails and keying into another system so you can try and be methodical about it. But that’s all coming back to say that the more you can get out ahead of that, and especially if you’re a leader in the supply chain organization, so often we’ll talk to folks like directors of operations or VP of supply chain, folks like that. If you’re in those leadership positions, you need to be trying to look two steps ahead and get ahead of some of these challenges before your team is the one that’s just, you know, screaming and yelling every day about how they hate their systems.
Stone Payton: All right. So let’s paint the picture. If we could kind of play out a use case I’m particularly interested in, although I’d love to hear about all of it. I’m particularly interested in what happens kind of early in the engagement cycle, if that’s if that’s the right word. Are you or someone on your team coming out on site and almost doing like, I don’t know what you’d call it, an audit that. Yeah, sure. Speak to that a little bit.
Jonathan Porter: Yeah. Generally we do a lot of our implementations remotely, although we can come onsite if we need to. There’s a number of consulting partners that we also work with to kind of help some of that process. And so yeah, if a customer comes to us and really does need that kind of, you know, personalized touch of just figuring out their processes, oftentimes we’ll bring in one of our partners to kind of help them with that, help them identify, do some of that value stream mapping, for example. We’re much more than just on the product and technology side of things. So we, of course, help customers implement. We help customers solve problems. We are there as much as they want or don’t want. Our technology is actually set up so that customers can maintain it themselves or their consulting partners can maintain it themselves as well. So we actually don’t have to be involved for any of the process if we don’t want to. But generally we are there along the way that once we’ve identified a use case. So that’s really where we kind of start is we’ll look at your entire supply chain operation or maybe your entire fulfillment operation and start saying, where are the most painful points? Where are things really breaking down the most? And we’ll try and identify one because the way our software is built around workflows, so we actually call them logic flows.
Jonathan Porter: You’ve got to brand everything these days, right? But so it’s very easy to build over time. So you can start with just one process and say, okay, we’re going to want to automate this or we want to extract the human component out of this data move and we’ll go ahead and build that and actually get that up and running usually just in a couple of weeks and get customers starting to see, okay, here’s a this is the different solution on this. Right back to that education point. It’s like we need a quick way for customers to kind of see that here. We can actually solve these challenges. Unfortunately, in the software world, there’s a lot of overpromising and under-delivering. So we also kind of have to fight fight that a bit. So but then we try and just build over time. So I mean, almost all of our customers have a phase two or phase three, and we really do just add on over time. We can build entire systems in our tool. So I mean, we can build things like a full WMS, we can build a full ERP, we can build entire systems if we want.
Jonathan Porter: But our approach much more is let’s figure out what you actually need. Like I kind of alluded to it earlier, the chances that you need an entire ERP are probably low, right? I mean, especially talking and talking to this middle market customer, you probably need a little bit of ERP, a little bit of order management, a little bit of inventory management. And so we work with you to over time then put these pieces together in such a way that you have the systems you need. You can operate your business the way you want and you don’t have all this technical debt of three different systems and an integration layer and a whole I.T team. Like again, we’re a whole managed solution, so we’re fully cloud hosted. There’s no onsite servers or anything like that. You don’t have to have an entire IT team manage it again. You can if you want. If you have an IT team already, that’s wonderful. You can manage it yourself. But really we’re trying to deliver a finish solution that you don’t have to worry about. You can get back to running your business, you know, running your fulfillment. Operations and let us handle the software side.
Stone Payton: I would think that clients and prospective clients would find this this modular approach very attractive, especially when they contrast it against sort of this one size fits all thing. And then, oh, by the way, we’ll come customize it for you later.
Jonathan Porter: Yeah, no, it’s a much better approach. And I mean, you know, when we show people the system, yeah, that’s their first reaction is why hasn’t this always existed? And you know, you can’t take all the credit by any stretch. You know, we’ve had a lot of people help along the way. And, you know, we’ve built an incredible team and, you know, we’re really just here to help supply chain organizations get the software they need.
Stone Payton: So you touched on it earlier. Lee and I both my business partner, were very familiar with ATC. We actually do ATC radio. Oh, cool. And we’ve gotten to know some folks out there, and I’ve had a chance to interview several people from that system. They do such marvelous work. So I know the answer to this is yes. So maybe rather than ask you if you’ve had the benefit of one or more mentors as you begin to build up this organization, maybe just ask you to speak to what that’s been been like, what the experience of leaning on other people to to help you. It sounds like it’s been invaluable.
Jonathan Porter: Oh, yeah. I mean, that’s one of the things that, you know, I have to credit my parents with showing me early on is that, I mean, say yes to everything the first time, Right? There’s a limit to that. Absolutely. But I will take almost any breakfast. I mean, I just came from breakfast with another founder, you know, So take any meeting you can and Yeah, listen, put your ears to the ground, right? I mean, people that have done this before, they have invaluable experience and learnings and can teach you. And I mean, I’m very upfront with you. This is my first startup in the software world. I mean, I’ve worked for myself, I’ve had side businesses and things, but this is, you know, this is my first go round at it. And, you know, the more that I can bring in mentors and people around me that have done this before, I think it can can only help. And I mean, yeah, I do. I really start trying to fill different segments of the advising side, right? So I have some I have an advisor that is really onto the growth side. So she’s a chief growth officer at another really high velocity startup. And so any kind of like scaling questions or fundraising, we can go to her. We have another our actual catalyst, our coach at HDC is Alex Rodin and he’s a supply chain, you know, former entrepreneur and has been in that in the trenches before of operating in early startup.
Jonathan Porter: And so yeah, we can bounce a lot of ideas off him of you know this this go to market or how does this work and so yeah just trying to surround yourself with people that have done it before but then also you know filling the gaps that you have. Right. So again, I’m more technical, I’m on the product side, so I know that I need to bring in folks that help on the kind of the business that go to market, the sales strategy that side. That’s what Anya, my co founder, does. She does all go to market in business. We’ve known each other for a really long time, but that was part of why I brought her in is because, you know, I know that I have the product technology side, I have the vision and where we want to go. But, you know, I needed to bring somebody in that really could hammer the go to market, hammer the sales side and business development. And I extend that same thought to mentors and advisors and, you know, anybody else that I bring bring along.
Stone Payton: So my impression is that the the supply chain community, at least here in the southeast with Atlanta, Savannah, it’s it’s a much more collaborative group of folks that genuinely want to try to help everyone in the ecosystem. Is that accurate to speak to that a little bit?
Jonathan Porter: Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, I said it at the beginning about supply chain people being, you know, offensive lineman. But really it is I mean, we’re you know, I feel like that a lot of supply chain is a team based approach. I mean, there’s there’s just so many partnerships that have to happen to make a supply chain work. I mean, there’s no one company that’s going to do every single piece of it. I mean, even Amazon contracts out some of their distribution. I mean, so it’s like, you know, there’s always going to be multiple entities involved. You’re going to have freight brokers and freight forwarders and the trucking companies and the warehousing companies. And so, yeah, I think that it’s partially just because supply chain is such a just a massive thing, right? So there’s no other way to say it. So but yeah, because of that, there is a very collaborative team based approach. You know, we are I do think that most people in supply chain are just looking to help. And I mean especially we’ve seen it the last couple of years with the pandemic, right. Of how critical supply chain became like in a way. I mean, I think that a lot of us that have been in the industry have have seen it. We knew it was true. But just now, everybody else has also seen how critical a supply chain is. I mean, for how long? We couldn’t get toilet paper and protein at the grocery store and stuff. So it’s you know, it’s been a trying couple of years for supply chain. But at the same time, people have really banded together. And I mean, I know there’s a robotics company that I know of that move robots around for different clients. And it was really just I mean, they kind of threw revenue to the door. They were just like, you know, how can we fulfill our clients needs and get boxes shipped? Out the door. You know, when we were in these you really crunch time.
Stone Payton: So what’s next for you guys? Are you just going to continue to try to grow and expand your reach and serve more clients? What’s what’s on the horizon? I don’t know what the proper time frame is. Nine, 18 months where you got your sights.
Jonathan Porter: Yeah. So we really are in a growth and expansion phase. So, you know, after kind of proving out that the technology works and, you know, having it running live in multiple customers for an extended period of time, we’re now at a period where we can actually really grow and continue to serve more and more customers. So candidly, it is some of the stuff that we’re still experimenting with. I mean, so that’s part of being a startup is just trying things, right? I mean, so we have the amount of different things we’re trying on a outreach go to market side. I mean, we’re experimenting with Google ads. We do a lot of content marketing on LinkedIn. We’re trying trade shows, we’re doing industry events. I mean, we really are just trying things because we need to get data back, right? We need to really show what is that? What is that process that’s going to work, to find customers, to continue to expand, to expand our reach? Right. And I mean, it’s there are trends that you can definitely see from other companies, but every company is different, right? And we our offering is different than another software offering. And so figuring out that repeatable process of who in the organization even do we talk to, Right.
Jonathan Porter: I mean, is it the director that we go to first? Or maybe do we start with an inventory manager that feels the pain a little bit more acutely, but, you know, is conversely a little lower on the totem pole of a decision maker? So those are the types of things that our mentality at least is we just need to get as much data back from real encounters. I mean, you can talk to people as much as you want, but there’s no especially things. So for example, like pricing, there’s no way to know if a customer actually will pay that price unless you put the offer in front of them and get them to pull their check back out. Right. Like they’ll sit around forever and say, Oh, yeah, you know, 100 grand a year sounds great. But until they actually have to pay it, there’s no way to know. And it’s the same with anything on the go to market side, in my opinion, until you actually have real customer real prospect data coming back, it’s hard. It’s all just speculation, it’s all a hypothesis.
Stone Payton: So so I’m not even sure this topic applies to you because you have so much energy, so much enthusiasm and passion for what you’re doing. But I like to ask this of my guests for for my own benefit, but also for the benefit of the entrepreneurs, the business leaders out there who continue to try to grow their own organizations. I still I got to believe sometime somehow, somewhere you must the tank must run a little bit low now and again, the batteries must need recharging. Where do you go personally? And I don’t necessarily mean a physical place, but how do you go sort of rekindle the inspiration, recharge the batteries? What works for you in that front?
Jonathan Porter: Yeah. So I very much describe myself as an extroverted introvert. So I do love talking, I love engaging with people, I love learning about other people’s stories. But at the end of the day, I don’t get energy from the extroverted side of things. So I do very much need my me time. I need to decompress. Right? And for me, this is going to sound crazy, but I actually it’s coding for me. So building software, it is this it’s this incredibly creative outlet for me. I mean, you start with a blank page and typing words on a page. You can just create anything. And it’s it’s amazing for me personally and it’s very much I get in my zone, throw my headphones on, you know, don’t talk to anybody for a couple of hours. But that’s how I recharge a lot. I mean, so again, it sounds insane, but almost every night after dinner, I get back on the computer and code for another couple of hours just because I love it. And that’s how I do a lot of my recharging. I mean, I have meetings throughout the day and I’m talking to customers and I’m talking to prospects. But then at night I’m just diving back into the code and, you know, building the software.
Stone Payton: Well, I’m so glad that I asked. And I find that I often get very interesting, fascinating, and a tremendous diversity of responses As far as the actual mechanism, you know, in coding, I don’t think is one I don’t think we’ve had that response.
Jonathan Porter: You know, most most people are not like me. I’m just a unique specimen, I guess. But no, it works for me so well.
Stone Payton: But what I do, the consistent theme that I do pick up when I ask that question is that the vast majority of people who are building organizations, they do feel like it’s incredibly important that they do invest the time and energy to make the space to recharge.
Jonathan Porter: Oh, yeah, 100%. I mean, yeah, you have to. And that’s one thing that I mean, I know I have gone through a journey with mental health in the sense of like, you have to make room for that, right? Like if you don’t stay sane, none of this works, right? And so yeah, I think that that’s something that traditional entrepreneurship, especially when you start talking about the the classic model of the VC backed company that’s going to work 100 hours a week. And I mean, don’t get me wrong, we work a lot, but you do have to figure out room for yourself to recharge. I go on walks a lot still. I mean, that’s one of my other things is, you know, just get out. Side for 30 minutes or an hour pop in a podcast. You know, just I have some of my best ideas when I’m walking, right? You step away from the problem. I’ll have been fighting with some piece of code for, you know, a couple of hours. And yeah, the best thing to do is just get up and walk away, take a breath and come back fully recharged.
Stone Payton: All right, before we wrap, I would like to, if we could leave some of these folks that are in that middle market, that are in that group of people who you fervently want to to serve, I’d love to leave them with with a few pro tips, some some things to be thinking about with respect to these topics and things to be doing, not doing reading. I just. Something actionable from this conversation that they can go back to the ranch and, you know and say, you know, hey, I’m going to start doing this or looking at that.
Jonathan Porter: Yeah. The first place that my mind goes is talk to the people that are actually doing the work. So especially if you’re in a management or leadership position, there is no better way to know the problems than to go and ask the person on the shop floor, what are they struggling with? You know, some of the worst implementations that I’ve seen over my career have been when only leadership sat in a room, designed the whole system, and then six months later you go talk to the receiver on the floor and they tell you, well, no, it doesn’t work that way and you have to redesign everything, right? So that’s the first part. And I mean, I think that that’s part of any any any good leader needs to be talking to the people on the floor and really getting a sense for how they operate, what the needs of the true operation are. So but then I also think looking forward. Right. So, I mean, I alluded to it earlier, but, you know, trying to get ahead of these challenges is the other best thing that you can do. And doing that by looking for people that are just fighting fires all day, looking for manual processes, going through some of the work to look ahead and try and get in front of these problems. Because if you if you get into that mode of playing catch up, it’s very difficult to kind of get out of that. Right. It’s very difficult to if you’re growing at the rates that you need to be, it’s very difficult to kind of get ahead of that, you know, unless you can get from the beginning, you’re always looking two steps ahead.
Stone Payton: So, yeah. All right. What’s the best way for our listeners to connect with you or someone on your team? Maybe have a conversation around some of these topics and tap into your work because it sounds like you really have invested you and your team in in creating some information that people can tap into. So whatever you think is appropriate, whether it’s LinkedIn kind of thing. Yeah, email, website, let’s make it easy for them to connect with you guys and tap into your work.
Jonathan Porter: Yeah, we’re very active on LinkedIn, publish a lot of our content there, so I’d say find us the company under Porter Logic or me. Jonathan Porter. We’re also our website is a trove of information. We try and publish a lot of different resources there. So Porter Logic is a great place to find us or just email us. Yeah. Hello at Porter Logic is our main main email address. It’ll get to the right place. You can email me Jonathan at Porter Logic and yeah, I’ll always respond. So yeah, would always love to talk to anybody about supply chain and software.
Stone Payton: Well, Jonathan, it has been an absolute delight having you on the show this afternoon and getting a chance to to meet you in person. Thank you so much for investing the time and the energy to share your insight and your perspective and the work you’re doing is man, it’s important work. That supply chain is just so critical, so foundational to everything I personally think makes this country great. And we really appreciate you, man.
Jonathan Porter: Yeah, well, know. Thanks so much for having me on. I’ll talk about this any time. So yeah, this has been great.
Stone Payton: My pleasure. All right. Until next time, this is Stone Payton for our guest today, Jonathan Porter, CEO with Porter Logic and everyone here at the Business RadioX family saying we’ll see you again on Atlanta Business Radio.
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