If you’ve attempted and failed to buy anything in short supply over the past two and a half years, you likely weren’t able to do so because of supply chain issues. Supply chain disruptions have continued to be a major challenge as the global economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting consumers and brands alike. An entire industry exists surrounding supply chain management, and it’s projected to grow from $28.9 billion this year to $45.2 billion by 2027. One company working on solving the supply chain disruptions that have caused so much frustration and inefficiency is New York-based Anvyl, which uses data analytics to simplify complex supply chain processes for its customers.
“The challenge with the supply chain is that it’s difficult because it’s manual and siloed,” Anvyl founder and CEO Rodney Manzo told The Org. And he would know a thing or two about it. Although Manzo did not come from a traditional Silicon Valley background, supply chain operations are in his background academically and professionally, and he’d be the first to say that sourcing and logistics are in his DNA. After graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point where he studied Systems Engineering, Manzo served in the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. There, he served as a combat engineer and also performed other roles, such as that of a logistician and purchasing agent.
In the military, Manzo said, you’ll have a plan, but once you dig in, all that planning goes out the window. Running a startup, he noted, is not dissimilar. You’ll take your product through user testing and have an idea about what’s going to happen when you launch your startup for the world to see. But then when you launch that product, and users begin using it in unexpected ways, or you receive feedback you didn’t anticipate, you need to be nimble. “You need to be adaptable, and you need to move,” Manzo said. “You definitely have to be willing to change and change quickly.”
After his time in the military, Manzo went to Apple, where he managed global supply, and then to razor startup Harry’s, where he was Senior Director of Supply Chain. "I've really been an inch wide and a mile deep into the physical nature of supply chain," Manzo said. Given this background, perhaps it comes as no surprise that Manzo has also advised more than 30 brands on launching new products by serving as an adviser to other founders.
Anvyl’s mission is to be “the operating system for global production,” Manzo told The Org. “We want to remove this manual and siloed nature [of supply chains], so that people can do their job better, faster, but more accurately, so things like out of stocks and overstocks don't happen.” By incorporating Anvyl’s fully managed SaaS-based service, brands and manufacturers can effectively manage their supply chains, which wasn’t happening in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in particular, when items like toilet paper were suddenly in short supply. “You don't have planning and you don't know when people are buying things,” “You're over-indexing or under-indexing and then you have shortages. I don't see that being fixed until people incorporate technology into [their] supply chains.”
Internally, Anvyl, lives its mission of being the operating system for global production in two ways. The first, Manzo says, is by remaining customer-focused. And the second is by being empathetic. “Making physical products is really difficult,” Manzo said. By understanding what it takes to manage supply chain logistics—from sourcing raw materials, to production, to the finished goods—Anvyl employees can get a glimpse into what it takes to be an operator within a supply chain, to understand where their customers are coming from.
Earlier this year, Anvyl raised a new round of funding, which it’s using for “a lot of R&D, a lot of development and a lot of focus on making our customers happy,” Manzo said. Anvyl employs several dozen people, and although its office is technically in New York City, the company has a remote-first culture, which Manzo called a “competitive advantage for any company.” During the pandemic, what he learned as a leader is that as long as you hire smart, talented people to surround yourself with, little else matters. “You hire people that are better than you […] and truly free them to be as autonomous as possible,” he said.