Move over artisanal food and furniture. PeopleOps, a small Florida-based consultant firm, is disrupting business-to-business procurement using a personalized, boutique approach to match buyers and sellers, driven by the Ariba Discovery service.
PeopleOps is scaling its reach globally, winning an estimated $11 million in revenue this past year. CEO and founder Jonah Manning expects to double that number, and reach $22 million in the first quarter of 2016.
Started as a corporate recruiting firm, PeopleOps has expanded into what Manning calls a concierge layer, helping procurement staff at both established and startup businesses source not only top talent but also supplies, partnerships and just about everything needed to support a company’s growth. Ariba Discovery has made this dramatically transformed business model possible.
“As a small business owner, the problem I ran into at the beginning was scaling,” said Manning. “I was attached directly or indirectly to every project. It was really good revenue-wise but the burn-out was too taxing. Using Ariba Discovery, we’ve been able to offer a differentiated level of personalized curation.”
Curated Consulting Delivers Innovation
Manning said most companies purchase commodities from the same few manufacturers. His consulting service goes far beyond this, helping procurement find almost anything by bringing in a full range of additional suppliers, and functioning as a trusted procurement advisor.
“The artisanal experience we’re seeing in our personal lives will dominate business-to-business procurement in the next decade,” he said. “We’ve innovating by curating the entire buying experience. Whether we’re sourcing people or potential acquisitions, we lead with each customer’s mission. We know what they’re looking for and we can articulate that.”
After joining Ariba Discovery, PeopleOps doubled its revenue in just one year.
To date, PeopleOps has placed thousands of candidates into jobs for clients, approximately 60 percent in the high technology engineering field, with the balance of positions related to sales, production and design. After joining Ariba Discovery, PeopleOps doubled its revenue in just one year.
Sourcing the Power of Many
Initially, PeopleOps focused on one-to-one transactions using Ariba Discovery. However, for the past year, they’ve partnered with close to 40 suppliers to orchestrate bids for much bigger projects.
“A lot of these smaller companies can’t bid on projects by themselves,” said Manning “We help them combine resources with two or three complementary organizations to offer a unique solution that’s very attractive to major buyers.”
Feedback from customers has been extremely positive, resulting in a four-star rating for PeopleOps on Ariba Discovery. Most deals are with companies looking for services in IT, marketing, branding, textiles and construction. There’s typically a people component as well.
“Suppose you wanted to open a coffee shop in South Africa,” said Manning. “We would talk to four or five local owners to see if they’d be interested in partnering with you, checking their backgrounds, and managing the entire sales process from RFP through management. We’re also able to source supplies like cash registers, coffee machines and refrigerators, as well as people to run the shop.”
Manning’s philosophy is that the biggest companies don’t necessarily provide the better suppliers and solutions. “We think the artisanal product is a better value. That’s why we source whichever solution makes the most sense for the customer conversation.”
Trailblazing Procurement’s Future
Manning sees procurement advisory becoming PeopleOps’ core business over time. He predicts recruiting will be less than five percent of the company’s overall revenue by 2017.
“In the next 10 years, the types of services, companies and products that we buy in our businesses will be very similar to the types we purchase in our personal life,” he said. “We are going to be as exclusive within the Ariba Discovery ecosystem as much as we’re allowed to. If we get a transaction that’s not on Ariba, we’re looking into pulling that into the service too.”
Just as handcrafted beer and pickles are disrupting traditional food and beverage industries, People Ops is trailblazing a different kind of procurement that will likely cascade to transform every industry it touches.
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