For product companies, the beginning of the pandemic was a period punctuated by question marks. Some consumer goods companies like VIZIO suddenly found themselves with booming demand, but faced a more restrictive supply chain.
Mark Rumbaugh, Vice President of Information Technology, helped navigate the company through the “cascading series of adjustments” and paved the way for their explosive growth.
On this bonus episode of The Platform Rules: Digital Transformation for Product Companies, Propel CEO & Founder Ray Hein chats with Rumbaugh in a fireside chat from last year’s Propulsion event.
“We really had to expand our footprint with regard to the way in which we defined our televisions. We've taken a first step and really improved our supply chain, but we really realized that global diversification in the supply chain was going to be really important…
"I think this all comes back to VIZIO’s mantra: you know, we're an everyday value company. So that manifests itself in trying to drive as much value into our products, and out into the marketplace."
“In order to support that, having a fully digital collaborative system on which all of our audience could communicate was critical to our business because we were now expanding into taking on additional customers.”
Though VIZIO was fortunate with a huge rise in demand during lockdown, they still faced the enormous challenge of meeting that demand relying on a tumultuous supply chain.
Situated on the IT team, Rumbaugh was on the frontlines of rethinking and honing the business processes in order to keep up.
“It became a much more integrated and much more tightly coupled process to satisfy all of our customers. It's been tremendous. And, fortunately, in part, through the use of Propel, we've been very successful at it.”
With demand rising at such a fast clip, product strategy had to shift by necessity—from focusing inward on their hardware to focusing outward on the customer.
“When I think about the evolution of our weekly executive meetings, they have gone from simply hardware focused to now this broad conversation around how we satisfy all of our different customers…
“A critical part of our executive management conversation is:
- Are the products and the services and the software that we're delivering meeting our customer's expectations? and…
- How can we provide early warning systems to identify those where we've missed and rectify the problem before it becomes a mainstream issue?”
According to Rumbaugh, the key to not only making it through the pandemic upheaval but thriving in it, was a strong foundational mission.
"I think this all comes back to VIZIO’s mantra: you know, we're an everyday value company. So that manifests itself in trying to drive as much value into our products, and out into the marketplace. And as an IT leader within the organization, I have to live that. ”
From going public in 2021, focusing on product value, strengthening their relationships with manufacturing partners, and unifying their processes into a streamlined platform – VIZIO seems to be making all the right decisions, and always doing so with the appropriate amount of caution.
“It's just been a cascading series of adjustments that we've had to make. So, it's forced us to be on our toes. We've had to apply technology and capabilities to adjust… but, you know, knock on wood.”