CEO and President of ParkourSC, Mahesh Veerina, joins Ryan Chacon on this episode of the IoT For All Podcast to discuss the future of supply chains and IoT’s role. The podcast begins with an overview of ParkourSC and a few of their use cases in the industry before Mahesh shares more about the current supply chain management state. He then transitions to discussing supply chain factors and the importance of integrating with emerging technologies. Ryan and Mahesh wrap up the podcast with conversations about educating potential customers and the evolution of Parkour SC.
Mahesh Veerina is the president and CEO of ParkourSC. Mahesh is a seasoned Silicon Valley entrepreneur, technology executive, and investor with more than 25 years of experience with companies including Ramp, Nokia, Motorola, Azingo, and Barnes & Noble. He built and managed several companies as Founder/CEO from early stages to rapid growth, successful IPO, and M&A exits. Mahesh is a technologist, entrepreneur, and passionate about building businesses. His experience spans various technology sectors, including silicon, data networking, telecom, security, mobile phones, operating systems, cloud, big data, and analytics. Mahesh is a passionate and driven leader. He enjoys developing strategic market & product vision, building world-class teams, driving innovation, bringing products to market, and scaling revenues. He also has an extensive background in working with large teams and managing P&L in world-class organizations like Nokia, Motorola/Google. Mahesh served on numerous boards in venture-backed companies and industry organizations throughout his career. He holds several technology patents. He enjoys travel, golf, wine, and family.
Interested in connecting with Mahesh? Reach out on Linkedin!
ParkourSC delivers agility and transparency into supply chain operations to drive strategic innovation and resilience, enable timely decisions, boost customer satisfaction, and increase revenue. Their real-time supply chain operations platform is powered by next-generation technologies such as hyper-scale graph modeling, AI/ML, and massive real-time data ingestion from IoT and other contextual signals. Customers use ParkourSC to digitize their supply chain quickly and easily, gain continuous visibility into variance from the plan at any point and any level in the supply chain, predict and mitigate risks and excursions, ensure quality, compliance, and sustainability, and eliminate millions of dollars of waste.
Key Questions and Topics from this Episode:
(01:43) Introduction to Mahesh and ParkourSC
(03:50) Role of ParkourSC in IoT
(05:20) Use cases of ParkourSC
(07:09) Current state of the supply chain
(11:40) Factors of the supply chain
(14:09) Leveraging technology innovations
(17:04) How do these solutions resonate with customers
(21:11) Evolution of ParkourSC
– [Voice over] You are listening to the IoT For All Media Network.
– [Ryan] Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the IoT For All Podcast, the number one resource and publication for all things IoT. I’m your host, Ryan Chacon. If you are watching this on YouTube, please like the video and subscribe to our channel. If you’re listening to us on a podcast directory, please be sure to subscribe so you get the latest episodes as soon as they become available. On today’s episode, we have Mahesh Veerina, the president and CEO of ParkourSC. They are a realtime supply chain operations platform company. They focus on delivering agility and transparency into supply chain operations to help companies drive strategic innovation and resilience, enabling timely decisions, boosting customer satisfaction, and increasing revenue kind of across the board. Lots of good stuff here here. We don’t often have companies that are solely focused, I don’t wanna say solely focused, but are hyper focused in one area, such as supply chain, which is a very relevant topic these days. So we talk a lot about different supply chain challenges, we talk about why resilience and the ability to anticipate adverse factors, course correct in real time, all that kinda stuff really matters in the supply chain world and how leveraging technological innovation can make substantial and tangible differences in this space. So very relevant conversation these days with everything going on with supply chain issues. And I really think you’ll get a lot of value out of this one, but before we get into it, if any of you out there are looking to enter the fast growing and profitable IoT market but don’t know where to start, check out our sponsor, Lever\eage. Leverege’s IoT solutions development platform provides everything you need to create turnkey IoT products that you can white label and resell under your own brand. To learn more, go to to IoTChangesEverything.com. That’s IoTChangesEverything.com. And without further ado, please enjoy this episode of the IoT For All Podcast. Welcome, Mahesh, to the IoT For All Podcast. Thanks for being here this week.
– [Mahesh] Thank you for having, Ryan.
– [Ryan] Yeah, it’s fantastic to have you here as a guest. I wanted to kick things off by having you give a quick introduction about yourself to our audience.
– [Mahesh] Sure, my name is Mahesh Veerina, CEO of ParkourSC. We’re based in Silicon Valley, California. Company is about five year old company. And my myself, my background, I’m a engineer by training, turned entrepreneur, been in the Valley 30 plus years, last 20 years, I’ve been doing companies, this is my fourth company, and pretty interesting area of companies that I’ve had opportunity to build in the security space, I took a private company public earlier, and so on.
– [Ryan] It’s been a fun journey for sure, it sounds like.
– [Mahesh] Yes, absolutely.
– [Ryan] Nice, so what got you into, I guess, tell me a little bit more about, I guess, start off with ParkourSC, and then kind of where the company kind of developed from and the story behind it.
– [Mahesh] Yeah, sure. So I got involved with the company when about five years ago when it just got started, four or five people, and my journey itself in the company, I was began as an investor, then joined the board, then about three and a half, four years ago, got fully hands-on involved day-to-day operations as a CEO. And the company’s history was, some of our founders, we came from a lot of IoT technologies, how do we kind use sensors, this whole emergence of IoT, which you cover a lot, has been very interesting. How do you use this edge intelligence to really impact different applications? So that was the birth of the idea. Then as you well know, you can serve many, many markets with IoT and supply chain seem to be a very natural fit with so many assets and products moving through. How do you get intelligence on these and how do you kinda build insights for the operators and supply chain? So that was the germination of this idea.
– [Ryan] And so from the idea and the evolution of the company to where it is now, tell me kind of what the company’s focus is, the role you play in the space, just to kind of give our audience some context.
– [Mahesh] Yes, so we define ourselves as we provide this real time supply chain operations platform to manage risk and volatility in supply chains, right? Through the pandemic, we’ve seen supply chain became a household word, right? Not having toilet paper in your local grocery store, you see on CNN all the time. How much disruption has happened in the global supply chain networks. So really supply chains, day-to-day, you might have the best plan laid out, but when you take it to operations, disruptions happen that’s fact of life, right? Small and large. So how do you kind of predict or anticipate these disruptions happening? And the only way is understanding, once you go to operations, getting that ground truth data in real time and anticipating some of these disruptions. The next bigger question is disruptions happen, that’s a fact of life, how do you minimize the impact of these disruptions or how do you predict, even better, before a disruption happens and take care of it? So that’s what our software helps with to manage that whole resiliency of supply chains.
– [Ryan] And as it relates to the supply chain side of things, are there any particular use cases or like could basically have deployments out in the field that you could maybe talk us through to kind of bring it all full circle of maybe a problem a company came to you with and then what you did to help solve that?
– [Mahesh] Absolutely. So we, again, supply chains are in every industry, every sector, one of our core focus, Ryan, has been the pharma industry, pharma supply chains, and pharma is a 1.2 trillion industry, 500 billion of that is cold chain transport, right? These are vaccines, clinical trials, material, insulin, or plasma, specialty medicine, so on. So one of our early forays into the sector happened three years ago with one of the LA world’s largest plasma producers. And plasma has to be stored at minus 20 degrees from the collection point through its entire journey and any infraction could cause lot of material loss and plasma is a rare commodity, you only get so many million liters a year. So how do you manage that journey for quality, compliance, and they call it time out of refrigeration. So measuring that using IoT sensors and that was our first foray in. So right from collection centers to the transport inside the facility until the final drug is produced and distributed, right? So these are completely sensorized, we get the data into the cloud, we have tools to manage the intelligence around it, and give them all the single pane of glass for the supply chain leaders to know what is being produced, where is it in its journey, and no excussions are happening throughout that journey.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. And one of the questions I have is just kind of moves it a little bit higher level here for a second is the general public, we hear about supply chain a lot recently, it’s been a very hot topic across many different industries, not just IoT, but can you talk to what are the biggest challenges you’re seeing in the supply chain space right now? And it sounds like in order for us to kind of move forward and improve on supply chain, we need to take somewhat of a different approach to managing supply chain operations. So potentially even having you talk about kind of how things have been done and how things maybe are progressing or need to be done in order for us to see advances in the supply chain space to hopefully overcome a lot of the challenges that we’re seeing now.
– [Mahesh] Right, no fantastic, great question there. So if you look at historically, right, start with the second later part of your question, and we’ll come back to the first part. Historically, if you looked at supply chains and how they’re built over the years, first of all, they started spanning as global networks, right, from regional sourcing, all the way from sourcing to production, to distribution, they started spanning as global networks. We see a lot of like China, Vietnam, whatnot, right, from Southeast Asia, a lot of material flows, production, and then distribution back. So with that, the way the software and technology is built by nature, it’s a multi-stakeholder environment, Ryan, so you have these ERP and planning systems, you have MRP systems for manufacturing, production control, you have transportation management systems for moving logistics, you have warehouse management systems. So the industry is now these data silos and fragments of them, right? Lot of data fragmentation sitting in silos across this network. And then you add in, not only your organization, you have your suppliers, your logistics providers, 3PLs, and their systems. So it’s become a complex network and data not really standard in these silos, if you will. So that’s been one of the key challenges and getting accurate visibility. So companies invested a lot in planning systems. So today, you get the best plan, but once you move into operations day-to-day, all kinds of surprises happen. And planning happens on a monthly, quarterly basis. There are your systems or records, systems of transaction, you need those, but now the focus shifted with the Amazonification of the world, what’s happening in operation? Consumer got trained on click, click, and you expect your delivery next day, next hour. Why is that not happening in rest of the supply chain, right? So that’s been the challenge that’s now being attacked. Building this, and then with the advent of cloud, and IoT, and all this AI, ML, and data science, very interesting consumer technology companies solve this in a very interesting way. So how do you bring that kinda cloud-based, near-to-cloud technologies to start streamlining supply chain operation site is what is happening. That’ll be a big trend. I mean, another buzzword for this is this digitization or digital transformation of supply chains, right? It’s a long process. There’s no overnight magic wand to do this because of all the fragmentation of data across. Back to your first part of the question, the challenges are, if you look at, again, as a complex network, a lot of challenges from the sourcing side. Some are incidental because of pandemic and closures of factories and ports and so on, they’ll get smoothened out, but the supply side and having predictability on that, and then the production and distribution side, and a lot of them are interested in taking care of the customer experience, how do you make sure the orders can be delivered on time in full? How do you kind of deliver quality and compliance? Nowadays, sustainability mandates have really risen to the top. How do you maintain ESG? So these are some of the challenges supply chains are dealing with, capacity constraints. Now with the labor shortage, more and more automation is being looked at, right, and use the labor talent pool we have for higher ordination making, and then automate the workflows, and so on. So those are some of the challenges being addressed, Ryan, I would say.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. You know, I think that’s fantastic. I did wanna ask, kind as we’re thinking about these challenges and the new technologies and new processes that need to be put in place to help us move forward, it’s getting ever more important to meet customer demand, fast delivery, you name it. What do you think are the biggest factors that companies need to be focusing on in order to do that well? Whether it’s resiliency, anticipation, real time kind of course correction, things like that. What do you feel like are the biggest aspects that companies should be focusing on in order to meet that increasing customer demand for faster deliveries?
– [Mahesh] Right, no, great question. So it begins with having the data and visibility, right? So we believe, and there’s enough data, disruptions happen. And if you look at the time to react to this disruption or minimize the impact of the disruption or to predict disruption, there is enough data out there, they can see produced to report. Companies that are better prepared with real time data from their operations, right, are much better prepared in minimizing the impact of this disruption as it happens. So question is, how do you get to this data? How do you normalize across all your fragmented systems? And that’s where these cloud-based digital overlay systems are coming. And once you get that data normalized and visibility in a real time, by the hour, by the day, by the week, now you’re able to kind of predict what’s happening and that’s where your AI ML kind of algorithms come in, whether it’s a last mile delivery problem, or a quality compliance problem, or a sourcing side problem. So the way we are attacking the problem is we build what is called a digital twin of your supply chain and model that, and then you bring in all this edge data and add intelligence at every node to be able to predict what’s going on in your network. And now we’ve armed with that data, you’re able to make decisions faster in real time, right? As things are manifesting and so on. And this way, it’s a continuous feedback loop into your planning cycle. You have a plan, but what’s happening in the ground truth, you understand, and then you are doing this continuous realignment of your plan. So that’s where world is moving and that where, right, is the tools available now to do that.
– [Ryan] Totally. And you kind of answered my next question in part, but maybe you can expand on a little bit, is when you were talking about the different technology components, talking about digital twin, and other pieces that are really playing the role in making a tangible difference in these situations in this space. So talk to me a little bit more about how leveraging technological innovation can really make a tangible difference in the supply chain space and what people out there should be thinking about.
– [Mahesh] Yes, no. So you are spot on. So what’s happening is digital twin technologies is one of the latest innovation really coming in. It’s an architectural paradigm. It’s very heavily used in manufacturing, modeling a car or a plane or something, right? Now we are borrowing that paradigm that’s well proven and really building out what we call a digital twin of your supply chain network, right? From the source of your suppliers, your warehouses, your factories, your distribution, trucks, pallets, whatnot. Imagine it’s like a model of your network in the cloud, right? A digital model. Now that’s paired up with all these edge intelligence data, with all these, not only sensors, these are signals coming from airports, or planes, or ships, or whatnot, right? Every moving part is sending signals, traffic, weather. A lot of contextual data is married to it, besides all the transactional data coming from your own systems. Now we have a live digital twin is what we call. It’s literally a snapshot of what’s happening in real world with a slight latency. Given that, there is intelligence, that’s the first step. The second step is adding intelligence into this by putting whether a simple if-then-else rule, or a business rule, or a complex AI model to really predict, hey, what could happen, give you practical scenarios, let’s say there is a thermal package in movement with a critical patient outcome at risk. How much life is left in that thermal package in its journey? If there is a decay, I want to know it now so I can put a rescue package in play or take it into a cold storage or something. So those kind algorithms are now easy to build in the intelligence piece. And the last leg, I would say, this is a overlooked, Ryan, but it’s a very important piece, because of the multi-stakeholder environment, it’s not just me understanding in the company with a single panel, I want to collaborate and tell all my stakeholders, they can see the same picture in real time on what’s happening so you can chat. And all these tools are there now, but how do you make that, I call it extended enterprise collaboration happening. So it’s the twins, the intelligence, and collaboration. That’s the future.
– [Ryan] And when you’re talking to customers and kind of out there in the market, how receptive are they to, maybe not receptive, but how does this resonate with companies looking to solve these supply chain issues internally? And is it something that requires more education for them to see the value and understand the benefit or what are you seeing as kind of the reception from the companies out there that maybe not be as deep into the tech and understand it as well as you do and your team does, but just out of curiosity, how is it kind of received?
– [Mahesh] Yeah, no, great question. So it was a educational kinda sell two years ago before pandemic, then clearly the pandemic has risen supply chain more to a board level conversation, the C-suite, how do we make ourselves more agile and more resilient? So it’s now definitely top of mind. Then a lot depends on the maturity of these organization, where they are in their own journey in supply chains and so on. But of late, this year, we are starting to see pretty much there’s a digital program in most of these companies, because face the facts, right, the days of where you can sit and do long three year expensive projects to stitch all the systems, that era is over, they want very fast agile ways to solve problems and so they are looking for digital solutions and a lot more receptive now, I would say, Ryan.
– [Ryan] Absolutely, yeah. I think we’ve kind of seen that in a lot of different areas of IoT, the evolution of kind of the education to the acceptance and adoption. It seems to kind of flow very similar to that. No, this has been fantastic conversation. One thing I wanted to ask is for the people out there listening and maybe are active in the supply chain space, looking to be able to figure out how to start their journey. What do you recommend that they do to kind of start making these changes and start thinking about how to evolve their operations and their technology in order to move forward and help solve a lot of these challenges that we’re talking about here?
– [Mahesh] Again, fantastic question. So it’s a journey. So most of these companies, the way our experience has been, there is clearly a vision we need to transform and they find a typical, what I call a burning platform issue, saying, “Hey, it’s a revenue recognition problem. We have 150 locations and when our drugs get into a certain market, as simple as we are waiting on trade clearance documents, internal quality complains, our customs clearance, workflows are multi-party problem, how do we solve this and make a revenue impact or improve our gross margin,” right? So you have a burning platform problem. They begin with that and then say, “Hey, what are tools we can deploy over and above our systems as a very quick, fast digital overlay to our systems and get some immediate results?” So it begins with a simple proof of value or proof of concept kind of thing, take few routes and lanes, digitize them, and see some value, and once they have that, they’re blueprinting that across their networks and say, “Okay, now, double click and extend to Europe and Asia,” or whatever, right? That’s kind of the progression we are seeing, Ryan. And happening very fast. Projects start three months, boom, within a year, they expand too, and they’re constantly learning and evaluating and improving the processes. And there’s a bit of business process reengineering in all of these, right?
– [Ryan] Absolutely, yeah, yeah. It’s very exciting to kind of hear about and see the adoption and the time to market change and kind of that time decrease in order to get things out there, deployed, see the value, and expand from there. So all great kind of insights and perspective, really appreciate it. I did wanna ask this, just unrelated to anything we’ve talked about, but as we wrap up, I’m always curious to hear the evolution of companies and brands, and you all have kind of evolved from Cloudleaf to ParkourSC and tell me a little bit about kind of just that approach and decision and kind of what that means for you all, why you did it, always interested to kind of hear that side of things.
– [Mahesh] No, I have nice stories there, right? So as I said, in the introduction, the company began life as IoT sensors, and we built sensors, gateways, which is near and dear to your show and really understanding. So Cloudleaf was name that came off of that, saying leaf is a sensor and cloud, and we’re moving the data to the cloud, right? So one of our board meetings, we sat there, it was very inwards looking and technology oriented, what we are doing is what the name was reflecting versus now what we’re doing with the company serving our customers is, hey, how do we improve the agility and resilience and innovation and growth in these companies? That’s what we’re really doing. We should name towards that, what the solution is. So parkour happens to be a very interesting name that we liked, it’s a French word saying journey, moving goods from place to place, and parkour is also a sport. I didn’t know it when I first, which is a very, there’s a plan, you’re agile and very athletic and there lot of obstacles and how do you navigate through that, right? So it really resonated with all of us and that was the naming and brand change, Ryan.
– [Ryan] That’s very cool.
– [Mahesh] And our customers loved it actually. They received it very well.
– [Ryan] Yeah, it sounds like it does. It’s very accurate. Yeah, I don’t know if you ever just Google parkour stuff on online and watch kind of what it takes to participate in that sport, it’s kind of a whole different animal, but yeah, that’s fascinating. I appreciate you kinda sharing those insights. It’s always good to kinda hear those stories and understand how companies shift and pivot and change with the times and have a lot of exciting things going on over there that I’m very excited to kinda keep an eye on and just see how things progress and supply chain in general is such a hot topic. Hoping things can kind of get solved and improved in that space as a whole, just benefits everybody. So for our audience out there who wants to learn more and kind of stay in touch and just get a better sense of everything going on at ParkourSC, what’s the best way to do that?
– [Mahesh] Reach us on our website, ParkourSC.com. That’s the easiest, there’s a lot of information. Yeah, allowed to reach me personally, send me a mail if you have questions. I’m Veerina@ParkourSC.com. Always happy to help and thank you for this opportunity to speak to you on the show, Ryan.
– [Mahesh] Absolutely.
– [Ryan] Yeah, it was great to have you on here. A very timely topic right now. So really appreciate you taking the time to share the insights. Great to learn more about the company. Would love to find more ways for us to work together going forward and we can expand that in the future. But other than that, thanks so much for your time, really appreciate it. I think our audience is gonna get a ton of value out of this.
– [Mahesh] Absolutely, thank you so much. Take care.
– [Ryan] Thank you.
– [Mahesh] Bye-bye.
– [Ryan] All right, everyone. Thanks again for watching that episode of the IoT For All Podcast. If you enjoyed the episode, please click the thumbs up button, subscribe to our channel, and be sure to hit the bell notifications so you get the latest episodes as soon as it become available. Other than that, thanks again for watching and we’ll see you next time.