John Sidell of New Course
Meet John Sidell, co-founder of New Course
, a consulting and software implementation company.
What is New Course?
New Course is a consulting and software implementation company that focuses on Supply Chain Execution initiatives for clients based in North America and beyond. Our experience includes 250-plus Warehouse Management, Transportation Management, and Labor Management system projects. Our current focus is on supply chain projects with SAP clients.
How did you come up with the idea?
The idea to focus New Course on supply chain projects related to SAP clients started in late 2011. The previous company we founded and sold, ESYNC, had a similar footprint of consulting services, but was focused on supply chain software implementations with smaller software vendors. In late 2011, we had an opportunity to view a demonstration of the latest SAP supply chain software and were favorably impressed. Its improved features and functions of the extended warehouse management (EWM) solution coupled with the incredible growth SAP has made in North America really got our attention.
What was the biggest surprise in starting your business?
The willingness to help we’ve seen from SAP in regards to getting up to speed with their partner program, and the genuine enthusiasm we’ve seen from previous clients about the potential of working with us again on supply chain projects.
Where did you find your first employee?
We found our first employee through our personal network. My business partner, Jim McNerney, and I have been working in the supply chain software and consulting industry since the late 80s, and have been fortunate enough to build many solid relationships with “movers and shakers” in the industry. We’ll be utilizing this network extensively over the coming years to add additional employees and partnerships.
What does a typical day in your business look like?
No such thing as a typical day in this business. Some days I’m catching the first flight out in the morning to visit a client or prospect and then flying home on the last flight of the day. Other days I’m in the office balancing my time between business development activity and billable client work. It’s safe to say no two days are the same.
What are some of the advantages to doing business in Ohio?
Our location in Ohio is perfect for a company that focuses on supply chain and logistics. It’s amazing how much supply chain activity is within a four hour drive of Toledo. It’s also convenient for air travel. Flying out of Detroit, I can do a day trip to virtually any major city in North America. It makes for some long days, but that is the nature of our business.
Can you share a funny or amazing entrepreneurial experience with our readers?
Sometimes when you’re in the thick of operating a business and you’ve develop a solid methodology for driving revenue, keeping employees happy, and providing excellent customer service, you don’t recognize how special the company and culture of success has become. This became evident to me after we sold ESYNC. Upon completion of my employment agreement to the company we sold ESYNC into, I retired for a while. However, I was getting consistent requests from other business owners to provide advisory services or consulting engagements to help them with developing a similar model of success we had in ESYNC. That experience brought out several emotions. On one hand it was humbling to look back on the success we experienced, and it was even more humbling to hear of the respect many in our industry had for the company. It was also invigorating and, in some respects, drove the decision to build New Course.
What inspires you?
Hard work, common sense, and the balls to make decisions. Generally these three elements will create success for the majority of people.
What founders do you admire and why?
All of them. There is a certain kinship founders and entrepreneurs have with each other.
What’s next for you?
A whole lot of hard work! I got my batteries recharged with the retirement from 2009 to 2010, and now I’m ready to drive revenue for New Course, help customers improve their supply chains, and keep employees happy.
Interview by Joe Baur