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From Startup to Supply Chain Giant: Alert Innovation's Hypergrowth Story

At Propulsion 2023, Heather Multhaupt, VP of Team Services at Alert Innovation, explained how the company is managing rapid growth after its acquisition.

At Propulsion 2023, the annual event for product innovators, I sat down with Heather Multhaupt, VP of Team Services at Alert Innovation, to learn how the company leveraged technology to fuel the innovation and hypergrowth that led to their acquisition by Walmart.

"It's hard to believe that we are this little tiny startup and we've been acquired by the largest retailer, the largest company in the world,” said Multhaupt. “We continue to define the best infrastructure that's going to support the technology, the resources required to scale the technology, and how best to approach our future together with Walmart.”

The partnership marks a significant milestone in Alert Innovation's journey. Multhaupt plays a pivotal role in guiding the company through its meteoric growth through the transition to becoming a Walmart company.

She recognizes the importance of selecting robust systems and infrastructure that could seamlessly support the organization's anticipated expansion:

“Because we expected to scale, we planned for success. We've been selecting tools in the IT space with the expectation that we were going to grow to the scale we're currently anticipating with Walmart. An important requirement is always that the technology is able to grow with us… The foundation for our IT focus today is to evolve the processes fast enough to meet our expanding footprint of the product in the field.”

As Alert Innovation expands, processes need to evolve rapidly. By placing a strong emphasis on efficient processes and high-quality data, Multhaupt described how her team enables the organization to adapt swiftly to changing demands:

"We're really moving to ensure that the data in our business systems can quickly turn into information so we can make our decisions efficiently. It’s also important that a tool has data validation baked in. As users are entering information and see that as an assist rather than an obstacle, I consider those the lowest cost of ownership features."

Multhaupt explained that empowering users and simplifying their experiences plays a crucial role in Alert Innovation's growth. She understands that great technology starts with a user-friendly interface. 

By implementing tools that make data entry intuitive and effortless, Multhaupt ensures that engineers focus on creating great products rather than being hindered by complex systems.

"I love to train users and make them successful, so when I have that valuable time to train them, I really want to focus on the process and the 'why' they need to do what they're doing,” she said. “Engineers love to understand why they're doing something, and when they understand why, they're going to do it better."

By instilling a deep understanding of the rationale behind their tasks, she empowers engineers to make informed decisions and develop outstanding products. But, of course, the software the company selects to do all of these activities at scale, seamlessly and efficiently, is paramount.

"Great technology let's it be about the process… What I'm seeing Propel do in the space of what I call ‘BOM health’—especially as it relates to environmental compliance—is incredibly helpful. It's a dream come true,” she said. 

“With out-of-the-box PLM, there's almost an unmanageable amount of information to be dealt with. But as Propel expands in the areas of information management, that's so important to an organization that's trying to move fast. It's remarkable and it's so appreciated."

Multhaupt and her team's collaboration with Propel, a leading provider of PLM, QMS, & PIM solutions, plays a critical role in managing product change effectively. She understands the importance of robust change management processes to avoid unintended consequences. By leveraging Propel's technology, Multhaupt ensures the system facilitates a seamless flow of information for everyone across the business.

"Propel is that governing system, ensuring that when the details come in for the change, all the i's are dotted, t's are crossed, and that the catchers are ready to catch the change,” she explained.

By focusing on scalability from the outset, Alert Innovation avoids the need for significant rework and can successfully evolve its operations as needed. In the company’s ongoing journey of hypergrowth, Multhaupt emphasizes the value of strategic decision-making: 

"Sometimes you have to go slow to go fast, but always be very purposeful in what you're doing."

Be sure to watch the full conversation with Multhaupt from Propulsion 2023, in the session “Scrappy Tech Startup Fuels World’s Largest Supply Chain.”

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Post by
Dario Ambrosini
CMO, Propel

Dario is a senior marketing and operations executive with 10+ years of venture-backed SaaS experience. He has held roles in enterprise and small business marketing at Manta, Switchfly, Yahoo! and American Express.

Fun Fact: He grew up in the United States and Italy.

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Dario Ambrosini