By Anna Lardinois, Startup Storyteller
“When you’re a planner, you just want to get it right, because everything in the company really revolves around the inventory. If the inventory is not right, the salespeople are not happy. The CFO is not happy because it’s in the wrong stuff and it’s the cost of carrying inventory. The warehouse guy isn’t happy because he’s got a lot of stuff and it’s not moving, and he can’t fill the orders. So, inventory is really central to a company and very important,” Audrey Walby, founder and CEO of SAFIO Solutions said.
Walby knows the importance of inventory management from experience.
She spent decades as an award-winning planner for some of the nation’s most recognized brands. Walby attributes much of her success to a software program she developed that combines sales forecasting, inventory management, and sales analysis.
She began using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets at a time when most of her colleagues were still using paper lists. When she overtaxed the capabilities of Excel, she created her increasingly complex measurement tools in Microsoft Access. The self-taught coder continued to refine her technology tools throughout her career.
Her systems were so successful, it took her to the top of her field and made the companies she worked with millions of dollars. Inspired by the requests for her to share the tracking technology she developed, she opened SAFIO Solutions to provide planners around the world with the same tools she spent her career developing. Founded in 2018, the Software as a Service (SaaS) company offers cloud-based forecasting products.
The Brookfield-based company has quickly become a planning industry favorite. The company has raised $2.2 million dollars in capital, primarily from those in the planning industry, who understand the value of the product.
Walby’s reputation has gotten clients in the door, but she credits the company’s growing client list to providing tools at a low cost, the promise of quick software implementation, and extensive training for companies that purchase the SaaS solution.
SAFIO clients work in consumer goods. Companies from pet supply businesses to those in the aviation industry are using the product, and Walby is certain that the company is far from saturating the market for the tool. “We recently did a poll on LinkedIn and asked how many people were still using spreadsheets. 57% of the people (who responded) were still using spreadsheets. There is a huge market out there for improvement because that’s a very painful process,” she said.
According to Walby, the pandemic and resulting supply chain issues highlight the need for reliable, web-based forecasting tools. SAFIO is using their tools to forecast the modern problems of warehouse space and shipping container availability, in addition to product inventory.
Increased demand for the product has SAFIO fundraising to add technology tools and connect with channel partners. “I would like to do another funding round because we’re looking for channel partners. That sometimes requires extra capital to find the right channel partner and training. We are currently in a funding round, and we have raised half of what we’re looking for. We were looking for $600,000 and we’ve raised half,” she said.
Walby said SAFIO Solutions is currently exploring all options, including accelerator programs and loans to support the company’s growth.
To connect with this rising company, find them here.