From an early age, Gururaj Rao – known as Guru – wanted to be on top of things and “Make it Happen.” Even as a student, he adopted a philosophy of taking accountability for his work and acting like an entrepreneur. No matter the size or scope of the role, that belief system has defined Guru’s path from computer science engineer to nuVizz founder and CEO.
Looking Ahead and moving forward
Today, Guru is a pioneer in delivery management orchestration, having seen the industry evolve along with trends in globalization, digitization, and automation. We sat down with Guru to get his reflections and predictions on what’s coming down the road.
Q. Looking back on your decades in technology and supply chain solutions, what are a few of the disruptions and milestones that moved the industry forward?
A. An obvious one is SaaS distribution vs. traditional software licensing. This is the norm now, but five or six years ago, everyone wanted their own delivery application. As networked ecosystems emerged, the idea of branded, point-to-point applications went away. With globalization, you have to talk to more and more people to get things done. If all the delivery information is in one place and everyone sees it at one time, things will be much simpler.
Q. How will this trend towards networked ecosystems change the industry?
A. In the last few years, everyone’s been talking about supply chain disruptions, all the way up the White House. A big challenge is the exchange of information. There’s so much inefficiency built into transportation on every leg. How many times have you seen USPS, Amazon, and FedEx coming to one place on the same day with different deliveries? The world is moving towards multi-modal shipments and hyper local delivery. Sharing information is one thing, but we’re moving towards shared infrastructure and assets, including autonomous vehicles. There is no reason delivery suppliers can’t share resources and gain efficiency. We’ll get there.
Q. What are some obstacles to this idea of creating new shared delivery models?
A. The notion of sharing data is hard; people think they’re going to lose out. It’s a big challenge to convince people, but my core belief is that it’s not a zero-sum game. People think if someone wins, someone else has to lose. But if you focus on the customer and the business and less on the technology, everyone wins. To move the industry forward, we have to let go of the artificial pride or fear associated with creating a shared network.
Q. What would Guru today tell Guru in 2011 who was launching a new company?
A. The toughest challenge in building a successful organization is starting it. My only regret is not starting earlier. In a single day, you can experience peaks and valleys. With a constant up and down, the biggest challenge for every entrepreneur is keeping their head above water. A big setback or even a big win might look life-altering, but you have to keep the broader vision in mind and not accept every event at face value.
Q. What’s the culture you’re building at nuVizz and how does it contribute to your business goals?
A. Your name doesn’t have to be on the board to act like a CEO in your own sphere. If you take responsibility for the success of the organization, the way you think about problems and solutions changes. We never box anyone into a specific job at nuVizz. Our mantra is “Make it Happen,” and the only way to do that is to wear multiple hats. Everyone is available to everyone else. We’re still in start-up mode and we always want to be. Our team loves being part of a holistic solution, not just working on one small task. That’s the only way to work at the pace our customers expect of us. Mindset is important: if it can be done, we’ll find a way.
Q. Could nuVizz be considered part of an organization’s corporate social responsibility strategy?
A. Absolutely. Sustainability is a huge issue in transportation and supply chains. Every time we can help a company be more efficient in its use of resources, we’re contributing to what’s best for the customer and for the planet. We show value in every part of what we do by helping customers use less resources, less gas, and less paper. We may not talk about it every day but using tech to solve these problems is the goal.
Q. You obviously spend a lot of time thinking about the industry and nuVizz’s role in moving it forward. What do you do for fun outside of work?
A. I took up running 20 years ago and that’s my escape. I like to run alone, and I don’t listen to music, because that gives me space to unwind and think. That’s my time. It brings a different perspective when I’m out in the world and thinking about what we can do as a technology to help solve problems.
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