Cody Upp is the vice president of sales and marketing at The Numina Group, an independent warehouse automation integrator. He began his career in sales at Upp Software, a supply chain technology organization that was later acquired by Aptean, and subsequently worked for Capgemini and 6 River Systems. Upp, who joined Numina last October, graduated from the honors business program at Miami University with degrees in supply chain and information systems.
Q: How would you describe the current state of our supply chains, and how would they be affected by a recession?
A: Recessions force organizations to prioritize investments that focus on margin expansion instead of top-line growth. Due to the adoption of XaaS (robotics as a service, automation as a service, software as a service, etc.) solutions over the last few years, today’s supply chains will be able to unlock operational efficiencies without the need for a large capital expenditure budget. This gives CFOs an entirely new vessel to navigate the choppy waters ahead.
Q: How does your background in software development fit with your current role in sales and marketing at Numina?
A: Over the last few decades, The Numina Group has developed custom, high-performance WES/WCS [warehouse execution system/warehouse control system] fulfillment machines for hundreds of companies across North America.
As a function of our history, we’ve developed incredibly advanced capabilities and intellectual property across the picking, packing, and shipping functions. We have a responsibility to productize these solutions to make them broadly applicable to customers of all shapes and sizes. My experience and exposure to software development will be leveraged as we increasingly become a product-led organization.
Q: What kinds of problems are customers currently trying to solve?
A: Despite the ebbs and flows in the unemployment and labor participation rate over the last few years, organizations still struggle to attract, train, and retain employees for their warehouses. The biggest problem my customers face is the business risk associated with labor availability.
Second to labor availability is the inflationary pressure on the labor market itself, where increases in fully burdened wage rates continue to outpace broader inflationary indexes like the CPI [Consumer Price Index].
Q: What are the advantages of working with providers like Numina that offer a wide range of capabilities?
A: As a full-service provider of fulfillment automation solutions, we intimately understand how to apply the Theory of Constraints to a warehouse or distribution center. Our ability to identify, quantify, and reorient operations to remove or work around their points of constraint is our superpower when it comes to unlocking value for our clients.
Q: If you were to recommend one technology for customers to adopt, what would it be?
A: It amazes me how operations still rely on warehouse management software (WMS) applications to drive optimization in the warehouse. The WMS of the future will primarily be a system of record, maintaining master data such as items, inventories, and bin locations.
Instead of going through the invasive process of ripping out and replacing an old or underperforming WMS, the risk/reward analysis almost always points to bolting on a WES as a better route. You get the advanced functionality you need to drive down your variable cost-per-unit (VCPU) without going through the “heart surgery” that is a WMS replacement. Said differently, WESs are the medicine an organization can take in lieu of the organ transplant that is a WMS installation.