Once a project with a strong innovation component has been launched, it is time to scale it and grow the business as a result of that innovation. The challenge is big and there are many layers to cover for this growth to be sustainable and long-lasting, but several factors facilitate a successful development and are key to charting a long-term path. About this the Codurance and Scentmate™ team discussed at a meeting during the Digital Enterprise Show 2022 in Málaga.
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In this conversation participated Rubén Recio, Principal Craftsperson and Lesmes López, Agile Delivery Manager from Codurance. And from the Scentmate™ by Firmenich team: Michael Rohrer, Product Lead, Felipe Carvalho, Engineering Lead and Alfonso Álvarez Prieto, General Manager & Founder.
Firmenich is a leading fragrance company that has been active for more than 125 years. Most of its customers are large, well-known firms, with very different scent selection processes to those of a small or medium-sized company. To reach this unattended market segment, SMEs, they asked themselves a question: how could we share our extensive experience in the creation of perfumes, scents and ingredients with SMEs, through a fast and agile process? The answer was that it was necessary to combine all their know-how with the advantages offered by digitalization and create a new product.
This is how Scentmate™ by Firmenich was born, with a very clear purpose: to offer entrepreneurs and independent brands a quality, fast and easy service that enables them to find the right fragrances for their products. From there, the idea began to take shape, but it was clear that there were several challenges ahead, including the fulfillment of two very clear promises:
Achieve the right fragrance for customers through AI. Being able to translate into a scent all the sensations and criteria they want to evoke with that fragrance.
The speed of delivery, since it is not only about getting the right fragrance, but also about getting it to the customer as quickly as possible. In other words, sending a first sample in a short time, which is free of charge, so that customers can try it out before placing their order.
Scaling the Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
When they analyzed the MVP, there were two strategic areas of improvement that needed to be addressed. The first was to give stability to the algorithm of the scent selection engine, to ensure that it was able to take advantage of the company's extensive library of fragrances and therefore choose the right ones for each consumer. The second was related to the tools, it was not just about a digital platform, it had to be able to shape the products and that included multiple creative processes with tools that were necessary for the team. There were also more challenges around issues such as security and processes.
Based on these considerations, Codurance entered the scene to contribute its expertise and collaborate in the achievement of these improvements.
"Codurance was a perfect fit for what we wanted to do and partnering with them was a conscious choice in a very well defined direction. We wanted to work with people who really aligned with our mindset using methodologies like pair programming, continuous delivery and TDD. They quickly understood our problems and acted as true partners from the beginning".
- Felipe Carvalho, Engineering Lead, Scentmate™ by Firmenich
Codurance supports Scentmate™ in refining the accuracy of its curation engine, generating internal tools to support the agility with which fragrances are produced and delivered. In addition to technical support, Codurance helps create a sustainable process and culture of continuous learning and innovation that enables Scentmate™ to attract and retain talent and align it with the business for greater agility.
"Codurance team members go beyond technology delivery, but also care about helping the business in other areas. They truly understand the importance of putting the customer at the center of the business and look for ways to grow the company as a whole".
- Michael Rohrer, Product Lead, Scentmate™ by Firmenich
Recommendations for entrepreneurs
Digitalization offers numerous opportunities, but it must be realized that digital practices in a company function as a means and not as an end in itself. Álvarez Prieto pointed out that when starting a digital company, the biggest mistake is to think that digitization consists of creating a platform and that after that you already have a final product. Instead, he explained that digitalization is a business model that must be adopted in as a whole, not as small independent actions that have a beginning and an end.
He also highlighted the importance of having a cohesive and aligned team, both in terms of the work culture and the objectives to be achieved.
"The biggest success factor is the culture and the people behind it, and then everything can be possible. Codurance has been a key player for us, thanks to their craftsmanship philosophy and extensive digital knowledge".
Alfonso Álvarez Prieto, General Manager & Founder, Scentmate™ by Firmenich
The session ended with a word, from each of the participants, that represented the most important aspect of their work together:
- Lesmes López -Collaboration
- Michael Rohrer - People
- Felipe Carvalho - Culture
- Alfonso Álvarez Prieto - Team
Codurance is proud to be a strategic partner in the development and growth of Scentmate™ by Firmenich. The journey continues and there are still many challenges to face and lessons to learn, what is certain is that as a team we are heading towards the same goal and with that we have already gained half way.
Thanks to all the Scentmate™ team who were part of this meeting, see you next time!