WePlan is a web‐based solution designed for all teams and experts concerned with workforce planning.
The Germany-based startup was founded by Franziska Burmester and Lana Jansen following successful careers in aviation consulting.
What is your 30‐second pitch to investors?
WePlan is a web‐based solution designed for all teams and experts concerned with workforce planning. We put more than ten years of industry experience into a solution that finally revolutionizes workforce planning and replaces the previous mostly error‐prone, decentralized and complex excel spreadsheets with intelligent and highly analytical solutions.
Our tool enables central, collaborative planning to any organization offering labor‐intensive services – independent of their size. It finally brings full transparency about a client’s cost of delivery and hence service or product profitability by leveraging activity‐based planning and costing.
Describe both the business and technology aspects of your startup?
WePlan is much more than manpower planning software – it is a central and fully transparent operational platform.
WePlan provides modules tailored to the needs and questions of the planner, their management and makes cooperation with all necessary stakeholders more streamlined and efficient.
WePlan’s basic modules cover everything that you need to start your long‐ and short‐term planning, compare scenarios, create dashboards or reports.
Furthermore, we have included features such as our time machine, change log, chat and task management. Also, you can pick from our advanced functionalities, such as shift planning, performance monitoring, training, collaboration, strategy, sourcing or optimization capabilities
We have recently launched our FTE and cost estimator that enables organizations to assess the total cost of delivery in seconds.
Finally, we also started to partner with other companies in the area of workforce planning, to offer rostering/duty plan scheduling or attendance.
WePlan is a cloud‐based platform that can be easily integrated with a client’s existing IT infrastructure.
The tool can be implemented as a SaaS‐solution and we also offer Planning as a Service for our customers that want to outsource their resource planning or parts of it to our experienced planning team.
SaaS allows for a cost‐efficient and agile introduction to the department without extensive on‐premises infrastructure and business expansion.
Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of the company.
- Completely flexible and modular planning tool, depending on the client’s requirements
- Significant know‐how on the business need
- Agile and fast in implementation
- Passionate team of experts
- Still small and hence not the biggest reach – yet!
- Our visionary approach to workforce planning and technology
- Applicable to other industries and types of resources
- Coming from the aviation industry, experienced in handling massive volatility
- Experts in designing solutions to meet the employee’s diverse lifestyle options to retain staff
- Like for most companies these days: uncertainty about the development of the pandemic
- Customers favoring big and established software providers over agile, innovate smaller ones
What are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate from both the customer and the industry perspective?
If it comes to users, they usually are equipped only with Excel or expensive, inflexible legacy systems.
Data is stored in several systems or spreadsheets all across the company’s departments and planners need to be chased to receive the information required to set up proper planning requirements.
No matter which of the former option is in use for planning – they both can’t serve today’s need for operations and management and are unsuited to run simulations on big, complex data structures. Regarding the industry, labor planning is a complex and time‐consuming issue, demanding for professionals, who have to be able to react accordingly.
Changes in plans mostly cause an increase in costs and understanding where the cost comes from and adjusting the plan is rather hard as operations are versatile and hard to predict.
Due to unforeseen changes, employees often have to face duty changes and overtime, or even worse – external staff rare needed to cover shortfalls.
So you've got the product, now how will you get lots of customers?
First of all, we know exactly how our clients work and can show our customers how many excel files they will get rid of and how fast our SaaS solution can be implemented. By offering a web‐based tool that enhances collaborative planning and facilitates data analytics and forecasting, we leave all the complexity behind.
We refine our tool based on the client’s requirements, meeting their specific needs.
The tool itself is a lease-based system, so going back to Excel is always possible. Furthermore, we offer Planning as a Service, taking over the customer’s entire planning process.
Tell us what process you've gone through to establish a genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable market?
We spent 10 years as consultants in labor‐intensive industries such as aviation and logistics, seeing our clients at the edge of despair trying to solve things in excel. It was simply not possible to go on like this.
So we established a vision of what workforce planning should look like and challenged our idea with our consulting clients, as well as staff representatives and unions.
In addition, we observed the market and realized that all the existing software focused on the optimization of short‐term shift and roster-planning.
In contrast, WePlan focusses on producing a proper long‐term planning forecast, as a fundamental basis for short‐term planning. This ensures that customers have the right number of people with the right qualification at all times.
How and when will you make money?
As the travel industry continues to suffer during the pandemic, we are targeting 2022 to be a successful year for us.
What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the founding team?
The female founding team is coming from in total more than 20 years of consulting and software development in the aviation industry - one of the most complex sectors when it comes to workforce planning.
The founders, Franziska Burmester and Lana Jansen, won several awards for their consulting work around workforce optimization and efficiency improvement through digitalization.
How have you addressed diversity and inclusion within your business?
For us, quality and passion matters, nothing else. No one is ever questioned based on their background.
All we care about is the perfect match of customer and product. To gain this match, we are relying on diverse people with different functional backgrounds. We need employees with an operational background, as well as consultants and software developers.
What's been the most difficult part of founding the business so far?
During WePlan’s first year of operations, COVID-19 hit us and our whole industry very hard.
This is why we had to think out of the box, react quickly and flexibly adjust our tool to serve other industries. We hope to win new clients cross‐industry as soon as the crisis is over.
Generally, travel startups face a fairly tough time making an impact ‐so why are you going to be one of lucky ones?
Our solution comes along with a strong business case and significantly lifts transparency in operational costs, at a fair price. Who can beat that? Furthermore, we put a lot of effort into the relationships with our clients, by working hand‐in‐hand with them. Based on our client’s input, we continuously improve the tool.
The clients can rely on us as we can rely on them. A year from now, what state do you think your startup will be in? We hope to have grown our team by 2‐3x the current size. Moreover, we aim to be a well‐known software provider – not only in aviation, but in several markets.
What is your end‐game? (Going public, acquisition, growing and staying private, etc.)
Our end‐game is to find investors who acquire WePlan as a perfect supplement to their portfolio and think alike.
Together, we can push the vision of disrupting the current rather conservative software industry and implement easy and user‐friendly software solutions for several businesses.
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