Zoro is an emerging business created by the Fortune 500 industry supply company, W.W. Grainger. That determines our nature from the beginning: we’re a start-up on top of a well-established giant, which brings us both benefits and challenges. On the one hand, we enjoy the resources and financial support from Grainger. Zoro’s business is highly reliant on the supply from Grainger, and we deploy a lot of existing corporate resources from Grainger, like HR, legal, and marketing from, to reduce our operational cost. On the other hand, however, as we continue to grow, the major obstacles in front of us is for our innovation is actually the well-established corporate background itself.
Zoro’s technology, design, operation and infrastructure have been following the standards of its parent company from the beginning, which means whenever we wish to adjust ours strategy or to keep up with the industry standard, there is a excessively lengthy process to go through before the strategy takes into effect. When that comes down to my day to day work, it physicalizes into lengthy elevation of design decisions and slow execution of iterative design circles. Even though Zoro is working really hard to achieve an agile development environment and to be extremely transparent in terms of cross-team communication and leadership, there can still be invisible barriers when it comes to day-to-day operation.
This challenge is not unique to Zoro, however. It is universal to most corporate of such size and capacity. For us, it is of great significance to acknowledge the challenge, and to address it by putting innovation as our first business priority. We are targeting a market that is rapidly evolving, which brings us both threats and opportunities. Innovation is the commonly chosen pathway to tackle the new market, and it is up to the entire team to determine the future direction of the operation.