It happens a thousand times a day, all over the world—an inspector walks into a factory to inspect a brand’s products, paper and pen in hand. They complete their inspection, and a few days later, the retailer or vendor will get the report. The work gets done, but it can take weeks for the info to get back to everyone involved.
That’s the problem Inspectorio, a startup that Target’s been working with since they were selected for the Target + Techstars Retail Accelerator last summer, has set out to solve. To do it, they’re reinventing the inspection process, bringing technology and transparency into the complex retail supply chain. Their platform includes mobile and web solutions that can manage purchase orders, book inspections, generate reports for retailers, predict defections in products, and provide factory risk assessments and reports on their inspections—a whole suite of tools that provides real-time transparency to factory work happening around the world.
And now, Target is working with Inspectorio to roll out their technology platform with 50 of our apparel vendors in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
We sat down with Irene Quarshie, Target’s vice president of product quality and responsible sourcing, and Carlos Moncayo, CEO of Inspectorio, to learn more about the partnership.
Carlos, tell us about your relationship with Target. What have the last 18 months looked like for you and your team?
CM: Two years ago, my brothers, who co-founded Inspectorio with me, and I were working all around the world – I was in Vietnam, Fernando was in Ecuador and Luis was in China. We read about Target’s accelerator in the news and decided to apply. After several rounds of interviews, we were selected to come to Minneapolis for 13 weeks last summer. We met regularly with incredible mentors, including Irene and Target’s CEO Brian Cornell, and continued to build out the Inspectorio platform.
By the end of the summer, we were already in talks with Target about starting a pilot. A few months later, we’d developed a business relationship and Target was the lead investor in our $3.7 million round of funding. And now, we’re rolling out to 50 of Target’s vendors—it’s been a whirlwind.
Irene, what was it that interested you about Inspectorio, and why did your team decide to bring their technology into Target’s supply chain?
IQ: Over the past few years, Target’s been pushing for increased transparency in our supply chain. Last year, we announced a series of commitments around responsible sourcing and sustainable products, and we’ve since shared deeper goals for chemical reduction, forest products, sustainable cotton and more. We also openly publish our standards for vendors and suppliers, along with a list of the factories we use across the globe.
So while we love the ease that Inspectorio’s new technology will bring, we’re most excited about two things: First, having this kind of transparency will allow us to make real-time decisions about our products. And second, it will help us greatly improve the consistency and quality of the products we offer, making it really clear where and how they’re made—that’s something guests care a lot about and have come to expect from Target.
Carlos, what are some things your team took away from their time working with Target + Techstars?
CM: By the time we were admitted to the Target + Techstars program, we had a minimum viable product and the vision of what we wanted to build at Inspectorio, based on our previous experiences managing a sourcing operation. But we had limited knowledge of how a global retail operation works and how our platform could complement existing systems. During the program, we had a unique opportunity to work side-by-side with some of the brightest minds in the retail industry, who brought the subjects of scalability, flexibility and network dynamics at the core of our product roadmap and differentiation strategy.