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The first time I heard about Tulip was in early 2018. I was selling software to an industrial tier manufacturer – an existing customer of ours. I was going over the digital transformation pitch and when we got to the “Here is how we will implement your solutions” section, the customer’s brow got increasingly furrowed. At this point, I had already explained through countless slides how various applications, hardware, and 3rd-party drivers come together to do basic machine monitoring. However, no matter how elegant these slides looked, there was no hiding the pain that a customer had to go through to even get started on this journey. Oh, and the fact that it’ll take 3 to 4 months to get an OEE dashboard up and running once we get a PO in our hands.
It was at this point that the customer asked, “have you guys heard of Tulip? If not, you should take a look.”
Two minutes of browsing and I remember thinking, “so this is what the next generation of operational software looks like.” Tulip was what the industry needed to deal with the issues plagued by MES and the 100s of point solutions out there that have been nibbling away at manufacturing for 2 decades.
Fast forward a year and a half to Fall 2020, I had just gone through a year of start-up detox at a machine learning company when Tulip reached out.
Tulip checked off all the boxes that excite me about software, especially in manufacturing.
1. Tulip is born in the cloud and disrupts the traditional MES and its derivative applications.
2. Tulip puts the customer in control of their experience. I cannot tell you how frustrating it can be for end-users to wait a year and receive outdated, legacy software. No more enduring painful buying processes only to never see the solution that was originally promised to solve everything come to fruition.
3. Tulip brings usability and a bit of fun into manufacturing. Almost all manufacturing software that I have used, or helped sell, fell into this “necessary evil” category (unfortunately). Many vendors continue to take advantage of the “you need this and I don’t actually care what your user experience is”.
4. Tulip is a true platform and brings a level of elegance to a solution that no one out there can match. Almost all so-called “platforms” out there are an amalgamation of separate internally developed or acquired software that were never designed to work together.
5. Tulip is a new category of tool.
Tulip goes beyond the traditional MES category. The problems MES were created to solve are endemic to manufacturing and will continue to exist, but apps give a level of control, instrumentation, and extensibility currently lacking in many MES. For these reasons, manufacturing apps are a perfect replacement or complement to MES, adding flexibility and making it possible to supplement the functionality of MES as the digital era progresses.
I joined Tulip to challenge myself in applying these principles and appending them as. I look forward to the journey ahead in shaping this industry and challenging the market’s narrative.