WayCool Co-founder Karthik Jayaraman on building a demand-led food supply chain

In this episode of Prime Venture Partners Podcast, Karthik Jayaraman, Co-Founder of WayCool Foods, an agritech startup, reveals what it takes to build an efficient supply chain.

WayCool Co-founder Karthik Jayaraman on building a demand-led food supply chain

Sunday December 04, 2022,

4 min Read

Waycool, a technology-enabled supply chain company operating in the food and agritech space, was born with the objective of making supply chains effective.

"We apparently look like a complex company, but every one of us is relentlessly focussed on the supply chain. In reality, we're a very simple company. That is the only area of our focus and that's why we limited our presence to only the South so that we can stay focused. It's important to figure out where, which area of focus will create value in the long-term, and that's what we have been working on," says Karthik Jayaraman, Co-Founder and CEO of WayCool Foods.

A demand-led supply chain

In India, food supply occurs via a push supply chain. People produce and then the supply chain pushes the product onto the user, which ultimately leads to wastage. But with a pull-based supply chain, the demand is predicted or aggregated, and production and supply happen based on data.

"You can have very efficient supply chains, which means the inventory is less and the wastage is less, but the responsiveness of the customer will be low. The fill rates may not be very high. Ultimately, you can have very high fill rates, but because you're carrying a lot of inventory and so on. But if you design a demand-led supply chain, you can have both low inventory and wastage and high responsiveness, and that's really what we are attempting to do,” he says.

The origin of WayCool

Sanjay Dasari, the Co-founder of WayCool, was looking for solutions to solve agrarian distress and supply volatility in the country. He approached Karthik due to his interest and capability in the field. This led to the birth of the startup

In India, the food demand is inelastic. Multiple factors shape the growing behaviour of farmers so, what they produce doesn't really match the demand present at all times.

Karthik Jayaraman, Co-Founder and CEO, WayCool Foods

Karthik Jayaraman, Co-Founder and CEO, WayCool Foods

Why farm-to-fork supply chain startup WayCool Foods decided to pivot from B2C to B2B

"We have inputs, we have advisory services, financing services, and what we do, market linkage services, but the agriculturist is just out of poverty. They cannot consume unless we put money in their hands, and we put money in their hands by creating demand, that's the principle with which we decided to become a supply chain player," says Karthik.

Harnessing technology

In the last 10 to 15 years, the focus of technology has been either demand aggregation, supply aggregation, or discovery between demand and supply orchestrators, but the role of technology is different at WayCool. Here, the primary role of technology is operational enablement and governance.

From predicting last-minute orders of retailers, finding the right collection centre or mill to buy from to collating the data for deciding the target price, WayCool uses technology to make supply chains efficient.

"And the value that we have is that we have one single integrated platform. I think I am told it's about 59 apps now, but they all talk to each other as one platform, from a retailer self-service app to a salesperson app, to our CC operation app called FarmConnect, and the farmer engagement app is also ready to use and many other are integrated into one platform. That's what enables us to do this and that's what took seven years for us to build as well," says Karthik.

You can listen to the full episode here.

Time Stamps

01:30 - Push Led Supply Chain to Demand Led Supply Chain

10:00 - Role of Tech in Food Supply Chain

18:00 - Depth in One Category Vs Building Breadth

30:00 - Build in-house, Acquire or Use 3rd Party Service Providers?

35:00 - Solving Credit for Farmers

38:00 - Resource Allocation: Physical CFO & Digital CFO

42:00 - “My Job is to Develop Leaders”

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti