I joined the army straight out of school at just 16 years old. As an operator who was responsible for executing various missions, equipment care had become an important aspect in my life. As our mission success was so dependent on it. But, as anyone in the Army would agree with me, something always seemed to go wrong. Whether it be a weapon system, vehicle, or optics, something would inevitably break. And when it did, we had to rely on the REME mechanics to fix it.
As operators, we would sometimes give the mechanics a hard time for not being very good at their jobs, but in reality, the problem ran much deeper. There was a systemic gap of information between original equipment manufacturers and end-users that caused a myriad of issues in the aftermarket world. This was a problem that persisted even after leaving the army, as I experienced firsthand while working for the UN in Africa and some of the world's largest automotive OEMs.
I can still remember sitting in a field, getting wet and rained on with a stack of technical manuals, trying to find the matching parts and the right instructions I needed to repair the equipment in front of me. But the physical PDF document bore little resemblance to the actual physical asset, making the process of repairing broken equipment feel like deciphering an ancient code. It was frustrating and time-consuming, and I knew there had to be a better way.
It wasn't until I discovered immersive 3D technologies that I saw a solution. I realised that there was an opportunity to create a solution that would provide an instant and immersive view of parts and equipment, which would be updated and connected in real-time. This solution would keep end-users like me in constant updates from the OEMs, eliminating the need for outdated documentation and paperback catalogues.
With this in mind, I set out to create Partful in 2017, a product dedicated to solving the gap of information between OEMs and end-users. We started with a minimal viable product and with early customer interest, were able to attract angel investment, secure a seed round, and even receive an Innovate UK grant. It was the start of our journey.
With Partful, our mission is to provide a solution that not only helps end-users like me but also makes OEMs more efficient. We've worked with multiple OEMs across a variety of industries and scales and have found that 70% of them experience the same pain we did years ago as equipment operators. They waste enormous amounts of time and operational costs processing manual orders and shipments of parts due to disconnected systems within their organisation. Incorrect part identification also causes them to spend hours daily on extended and confusing communication with their customers and resolving wrong part orders.
I believe our solution, Partful, is a game-changer in the aftermarket world. We're not only helping end-users, but we're also helping OEMs increase their revenue while setting them up for a future of manufacturing 4.0.
My journey before Partful was literally filled with wrong parts. With 3D immersive technologies and digitalisation, we're FULfilling our PART to solve this issue for our customers and their end users. And I'm excited to see where this journey takes us.