Jonathon Karelse, CEO “The Only Source of Knowledge is Experience”—Albert Einstein
You can’t really learn to swim or paraglide by reading a book.
Jonathon Karelse, the CEO steering NorthFind Management, an SCM consultancy firm enabling smoother supply chain management for clients, has built his entire firm around these words of wisdom.
Needless to say, an interaction with the company assures one of the fact that in a world where there is no shortage of solution providers and consultancies who pose as problem-solvers, NorthFind stands tall because of the way they run the business.
The birth of NorthFind Management can be traced back to the days when the Founding Partner, Jonathon Karelse, and the co-founder were acquaintances who shared their ideas at industry events. Both of their ideas converged at a point—the need for practical applications that focused on the financial aspect of supply chain solutions. The reality was in front of them. Many practitioners only followed textbook SCM methods without considering the P&L or the impact of their activities on the balance sheet of the company. “One of our guiding principles is to remain financially focused on helping give clients a realistic view of their operations and its impact on their P&L,” says Karelse.
A large chunk of the providers of tools and consultancies for SCM have never had a firsthand, boots on the ground experience in the industry. Although SCM service providers are never short in supply, the bitter truth is that a lot of them discuss game plans on the sidelines while almost nobody shoots to score.
One of our guiding principles is to remain financially focused to help give clients a realistic view of their operations and its impact on their P&L
As serendipity would have it, a chain of events led to their paths crossing again to remedy this stark yet largely unaddressed issue. The team turning the gears at NorthFind has a proven track record of driving transformation in the SCM industry, in addition to accolades in academic and theoretical training. Karelse himself has studied Value Chain Management at MIT Sloan and has completed the Harvard Business School’s CME with a focus on leadership, organizational strategy, and behavioural economics. Other members in the team are also highly accomplished—with two HBAP (Harvard Business Analytics Program) graduates, a PhD holder in theoretical physics, and more.
Efficient inventory strategy is a critical prerequisite for success in every business, regardless of size, market place, or supply chain. Companies often face bottlenecks with their working capital due to too much expense invested in inventory management. NorthFind works hand-in-hand with its clients using its multi-echelon inventory planning service suite. This helps clients to reduce noise in their current practices and provide in-depth operational and financial insights into the reasons the returns on investment are less than expected.
NorthFind helps underperforming clients drill down to the core of their processes to draw operational and financial insights that help meet customer expectations.
The company also works with its clients’ key stakeholders to develop advanced analytics that support the decision making processes, which sets them on the track to being best-in-class in the industry. Using its understanding of the nuances of SCM, NorthFind has placed itself as a consultancy expert that focuses on the core of supply chains, with their services ranging from demand and supply planning to strategic sourcing and procurement.
“Our services are more than a one-size-fits-all slide in a PowerPoint deck,” continues Karsele. The company’s Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) services center on helping clients leverage S&OP as a platform for their entire value chain. The S&OP journey is not a project with a defined beginning and end. It is a multi-year endeavor where NorthFind drills into client data to obtain the precise details that achieve the required results. Selective—to a certain degree—of the clients it works with, NorthFind excels in further enabling customers in SCM who are internally driven and are committed to making changes in their operational processes.
Heineken, the global beer manufacturing giant, collaborated with NorthFind to create a study of their global demand planning to understand what unconscious biases their planners had. Firstly, this helped in identifying the underlying issues; but secondly, and more importantly, it helped develop proprietary training insights that could mitigate these biases and improve demand planning overall. Behavioral economic insights, provided by NorthFind, into the geographic and demographic aspects of Heineken’s planners, help them conclude future hiring practices, training, and programs to improve the effectiveness of demand planning and forecasting.
With many more success stories as such, as a decentralized, global company, NorthFind is always on the move to develop innovative services for demand planning, inventory strategy, and all things SCM.