From customer to leader at Shoplogix, Tarannum Khan brings the vision of digital transformation to the manufacturing industry.
She started out as a barista at a local Toronto coffee shop. Ten years later, she became a continuous improvement manager and toured a plant when she recognized a familiar face — one of her regular customers from her time as a barista was a machine operator on the process line. He soon became someone Tarannum could trust whenever she needed to get to the root cause of product challenges.
To Tarannum, this was an incredible lesson about the value in treating everyone you meet with respect. It’s also an example of how to be a great leader. The ability to recognize the strengths in someone else while not being afraid to leverage their expertise and perspective is integral to success — especially for those who want to work in technology solutions.
Taking these lessons to heart, Tarannum continued with her career and worked at a top food and beverage manufacturing company. It’s there that she became a Shoplogix customer, often deploying smart factory solutions across North America. This gave her a unique and in-depth perspective on digital transformation technology and how a local Canadian company could make a significant impact on operational excellence for world-renowned brands.
From the early days of deployment, Tarannum saw potential in Shoplogix’s product offerings as the company helped manufacturers achieve operational excellence through the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and its related applications. Eventually joining Shoplogix was a unique opportunity for Tarannum based on her background in total productive maintenance (TPM) and operational excellence.
In an exclusive interview, Tarannum shared her thoughts on the recent challenges brought forth by the pandemic to the supply chain, which have only accelerated the need for solutions that Shoplogix brings to manufacturers.
What are the current, real-world problems that Shoplogix is solving?
Tarannum: The niche we build solutions for — manufacturing — is massive, and its operations are still old school, with humans standing at machines performing physical work. Our customized solution introduces a level of efficiency, scalability, job stability and safety.
Supply chain and labor issues hit this sector hard during the pandemic. It’s more important than ever for manufacturing leads to understand and address issues like machine performance, process variability and stock keeping unit (SKU) portfolio complexity to drive down costs and improve productivity.
Shoplogix was able to help keep doors open by economizing, adding value, increasing productivity and eliminating non-essential activities so the workforce and materials on-site could be optimized. Our solutions enable human energy and effort to focus on shop floor collaboration for safe production, maintenance and management. Meanwhile, the technology focuses on automating industrial monitoring, alerts when it matters and gathering data for “insights to action.”
What are the strengths of Shoplogix and the people who do and lead work there?
Tarannum: The strength of the company comes down to the people. The strength of our teams enables us to bring a vision to life, pivot our strategy when required, keep up with economic shifts, innovate to meet customer needs and build those vital relationships.
There’s a deep interconnection between the visionaries and the leaders, between the designers and the builders. We’re also incredibly fortunate to have an actively involved culture made up of people who have been here through an evolution and newcomers who bring fresh energy and reignite our interests in what we are doing. Many of us work remotely, but we find time and ways to connect using communication tools and often meet at our headquarters since we’re now able to do so.
How would you describe yourself as a leader and a mentor?
Tarannum: As a leader or a mentor, I try to be genuine and candid — letting my true personality show and setting people at ease. I work towards building a foundation where we can have real conversations and deep discussions about professional development or personal goals. I’m very curious and enjoy sharing my own thoughts and ideas.
As a result, I ask a lot of questions and am very open with my responses. I strive to understand who each individual is, what they need to do their job, to grow,and be fulfilled here at Shoplogix. My advice to anyone who wants to be a mentor is that it’s not always about speaking, but rather actively observing and listening.
How do you foster a growth-focused environment?
Tarannum: Shoplogix is a small Canadian company in Oakville, but we have customers worldwide. We have built and nurtured a whole community that shares a common perspective and goal. We contribute our experiences and individual knowledge to create a great place and solution.
At a place like this, every action you take, every decision you make, your work relationships and your ideas make an impact very quickly. That’s incredibly gratifying and encourages a growth mindset and collaboration because to truly succeed here — and for us to succeed as a company — you need to be open to pivoting and adopting someone else’s approach when it’s required.