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30 Best CEOs of the Year 2022

Changing the Nature of Supply Chain Industry: Ivaldi Group

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“We’ve even helped write the quality standards for the industry.”

History has shown that crises, such as pandemics often come with an unexpected silver lining. A noticeable change the world has witnessed is in the emergence of new competent leaders and the deliverance of great solutions under pressure. Importantly, this has led to the revival of companies across several industries.

With that said, in a year of massive uncertainty and disruption across the supply chain, Ivaldi Group has emerged as a visionary company with a remarkably simple proposition: to send files, not parts. The leader behind this sharp rise in the company’s popularity is Espen Sivertsen, founder and CEO, whose quintessential leadership style has turned chaos into opportunity and charted a new and sustainable course for the supply chain.

The group works with leading partners across the heavy industry to leverage on-demand manufacturing and cloud inventory solutions to reduce delivery times and carry cost of spare parts by sending files, not parts, as noted above. It currently operates across the U.S.,Mexico, Norway and South Africa.

It’s safe to mention that Ivaldi Group stands out as it has taken on what is essentially a hardware problem and turned it into a software and service opportunity. No doubt, a great feat in and of itself! The company cost-effectively helps some of the world’s largest companies switch from physical warehousing to digital distribution.

Ivaldi Group was founded in 2016.

The Silicon Review contacted Mr. Sivertsen about how he and his team of experts are revolutionizing the supply chain. The magazine has learned plenty of things about the industry and how the company is transforming it. Below is an excerpt.

“Having spent half a decade leading an original equipment manufacturing company, I was painfully familiar with the consequences of long lead times and costly supply chain stoppages. Current supply chains are fundamentally costly, time-consuming, and wasteful, and frankly, the world can’t afford us to continue our current unsustainable supply chain and manufacturing practices. At the same time, we also see that robotic production tools such as the ones we were building at my previous company become faster, better and cheaper,” said Espen Sivertsen.

“At Ivaldi Group, we focus on leveraging this development to have a positive impact on the environment and society. We put these parts in the cloud and produce them locally on-demand, instead. These last 18 months have highlighted the risks and challenges related to getting physical stuff from one place to another. Sending files rather than parts to local producers is simply better a lot of the time. Hence, we set out to build a digitally distributed supply chain that is exponentially better than the status quo,” he said.

The first step to digital distribution that Ivaldi recommends is to identify the potential for return on investment and to identify which parts to start with. Based on very limited procurement or inventory data from a company’s ERP systems, Ivaldi can provide a holistic analysis of the potential and where to start. If the identified parts are not already designed for on-demand manufacturing, Ivaldi can support with design services, i.e. make the digital files for its customers and place that file in a digital warehouse available to the customer. Last, but not least, Ivaldi will connect the customer to an existing, certified manufacturing partner close to where the part is needed. This way the shift happens step by step and only when it makes sense from a business perspective for the customer.

“For us, it is essential that the shift enables a positive relationship between business incentives and impact on our society and environment. The more you get locally on-demand, the more you save and the better impact. That keeps us motivated to pursue this in the long run,” the CEO said.

“In addition, for us, it’s important to collaborate with other players in the industry, original equipment manufacturers, manufacturing partners, etc., and to listen to and learn from our customers. The shift is inevitable, but it’s a value system shift, not something that one player can do on their own,” he continued.

As of now, Ivaldi Group is witnessing double-digit growth as it continues to boost local jobs. Moreover, the company is committed to reducing customers’ carbon footprint.

The interest is certainly picking up with increasing challenges in the traditional supply chains and with better, faster, and cheaper robotics, new materials and new business cases presented. The industry is growing over 20 percent a year for the last 15 years and Ivaldi Group has crossed the point where on-demand manufacturing is suitable for operations, not only prototypes.

“We’re able to deliver new insights and solutions, giving traditional industries an alternative to current supply chain offerings that enable our customers to transition to more efficient and impactful practices long term,” said Gro Dyrnes, CCO at Ivaldi Group.

“Espen is very good at establishing and safeguarding our trust with both internal and external stakeholders. Quality is essential for our customers and we take this very seriously. We’ve even helped write the quality standards for the industry. For us it is important to practice what we preach. We are 60 percent women and about the same percentage of people of color because we know diversity impacts how we can deliver positively.  This is a different kind of company and our values of respect, problem-solving, and commitment to deliver triple bottom line return on investment are grounded in who Espen is as a founder and CEO,” the CCO said.

Rising to the Occasion

As the pandemic hit in March last year, Sivertsen and his team started getting pleas from local clinics and other health institutions needing personal protective equipment. This was a particularly difficult task because face shield supplies everywhere were critically low. Ivaldi, which primarily works in heavy industry, had never made them before and didn’t know if and what safety requirements or standards existed for these particular products.

“It was a pretty crazy time for everyone as a lot of our customers simply shut down for several months and Ivaldi had cash-flow issues. We were all worried. I know the leadership team opted to go without pay for a while so that staff didn’t have to. I also know Espen’s family contracted the virus, and on top of that, we had all these requests for PPE gear. Basically, everything was going to hell in a handbasket. It was an extraordinary time but with Espen’s leadership, we landed safely on the other side. With his focused and visionary mindset, we made a positive impact. Importantly, it was an opportunity for us to show what we could deliver and we did,” said

Alaina Piland, CFO at Ivaldi Group.

Working with an impromptu online community of tens of thousands of nurses, doctors, engineers, and enthusiasts to identify reliable designs, Espen had 3D-printed a prototype within two hours of the first request. Ivaldi Group was in production within 24 hours, starting deliveries to clinics the next day all while socially isolating.

“I am immensely proud of our team for stepping up to the challenge and delivering sorely needed supplies in a crunch. Our fast turnaround helped health workers on the frontline of the pandemic stay safer than they otherwise would have been,” the CEO said.

“Besides, operating in uncertainty, building adaptive and scalable systems and culture that enables the speed of action and proactivity towards emerging needs is difficult and takes time. Trust, and the speed that trust enables, is a key component which, together with diversity, enables our organization to spot and resolve issues and opportunities quickly and creatively,” said Mr. Sivertsen.

“This is a different kind of company and our values of respect, problem-solving, and commitment to deliver triple bottom line return on investment are grounded in who Espen is as a founder and CEO.”