Macmarts: Real-time spend tracking for the manufacturing industry

14 Jun 2022

Macmarts founder Michael McNamara. Image: Macmarts

With a comprehensive tool to keep an eye on manufacturing budgets, Limerick’s Macmarts spies a golden opportunity in this industry’s digital transformation.

“We are pioneers when it comes to real-time spend optimisation,” said Macmarts CEO Tony Frawley.

Macmarts provides cloud-based enterprise software for manufacturing companies in heavily regulated industries such as pharma, medtech, healthcare, food and technology. Its core product is budget-management application SpendBooks.

“SpendBooks helps companies to make more informed decisions about their budgets and catch over- and under-spend earlier in the spending process,” Frawley explained.

“Trusted by procurement, finance, engineering and project management teams, SpendBooks helps them perform their work more efficiently, releasing them from spreadsheets to control their op-ex and cap-ex budgets in real time.”

SpendBooks does this by connecting systems Frawley said are typically disconnected, from email and spreadsheets to physical documents and even tacit knowledge.

“Regardless of a company’s size or industry, numerous purchasing transactions will exist outside of and offline from the company ERP and accounting systems,” he explained. “Exact spend visibility and the detail surrounding spending is difficult to achieve for any company. And for larger corporations, those needs are further compounded by multiple subsidiaries and countries.”

Frawley believes businesses with real-time visibility on spending can gain competitive advantages through improved efficiency, cost savings, accountability and “complete control of the spend process from A to Z”.

“Our ultimate goal is to be the go-to spend optimisation system for world-leading manufacturing companies in heavily regulated industries,” he said.

‘Michael often jokes about his work experience ranging from the Bronze Age to the cloud age’

Founder Michael McNamara established Macmarts to help manufacturing businesses along their digital transformation journey. “Due to the mass acceleration of digital transformation companies in these industries, they are now looking for best-of-breed technology solutions to keep up with the digital race to the future,” he said.

“It’s been accepted globally that the next industrial revolution – namely, industry 4.0 – is a journey that companies must go on in order to survive and thrive,” McNamara added.

“Core to this is working with suppliers who align with a company’s strategic sustainability goals. The Macmarts platform enables these companies on their digital transformation journey focusing on real inputs and outputs such as resource efficiency, cost savings, connectivity, and data harvesting and analysis.”

McNamara founded Macmarts in 2017 to address a problem he directly observed across the manufacturing industry.

“Michael often jokes about his work experience ranging from the Bronze Age to the cloud age,” said Frawley. This is because his entrepreneurial spirit was first roused as an apprentice in his uncle’s clay cast moulding business, a craft dating back to the Bronze Age. This was followed by four decades of experience across the globe supporting manufacturing in life sciences and other heavily regulated industries.

CEO Frawley comes to the business with a background in brand and marketing. Before taking the helm at Macmarts, he was CEO and chief strategist of his own international consultancy where he helped large enterprises, SMEs and start-ups develop business models, market positioning and brand strategy.

Frawley is also a part-time lecturer at University of Limerick (UL) and Macmarts maintains a beneficial connection with the university. Based next to the campus, in the National Technology Park in Castletroy, Macmarts is part of the Immersive Software Engineering programme at UL. This programme sees Irish-founded tech companies such as Stripe and Intercom teaming up with the university to offer hands-on computer science education.

“[It] presents a fantastic opportunity to attract some of the brightest minds to work in our industry,” said Frawley. “We’re excited about the potential these talented people can bring to our team.”

‘Our target market has reprioritised its digital transformation timeline and as such is frantically seeking suitable partners’

As well as SpendBooks, the SaaS start-up has a project resource management product called ProjectBooks which is now being used by a global healthcare company. “We are currently developing v3 of the platform, which we plan to scale globally,” said Frawley.

“Our products are ideally positioned to capitalise on the current market trends,” he added. “We are receiving great interest from manufacturing companies who are looking to fast-track their digital transformation and bring their spend under real-time control, particularly in this challenging macroeconomic environment.

“We are at an exciting time of our journey as we have a number of new customers, funding opportunities and innovative products in the pipeline.”

So far, Macmarts has enjoyed organic growth, though its trajectory could be about to take off following a major shift in attitudes to enterprise software.

“Our target market has reprioritised its digital transformation timeline and as such is frantically seeking suitable partners to enable them to meet their requirements,” said Frawley. This is helping Macmarts to overcome one of its biggest hurdles, which is an aversion to change.

“The challenge is educating potential customers who may be in a non-change-management mode to consider adopting innovative digital solutions,” said Frawley.

“This same barrier has prevented companies from accelerating their industry 4.0 journeys as they are often slow to move away from legacy systems and the comfort zone that they provide.”

As the company aims to leap through this “huge window of opportunity”, it is looking for investment. As well as this and continuing to develop its SaaS software, Macmarts is also setting out on a mission to go “beyond net zero” by 2030.

“We are hardwired into innovation mode with a strong focus on meeting our people, customers, partners and suppliers’ future needs,” said Frawley. “This drives our constant focus on leaning out business processes and eliminating waste.”

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Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.