If you’ve had the pleasure of logging onto a video-conferencing call with Stu Johnson, our newly promoted VP of Product Marketing, you’re sure to notice his backdrop. Posted on the wall behind his desk are the various ski trails he’s visited throughout the United States.
It looks like a maze with intertwining tracks of trees and ski runs—a fitting metaphor for what he does on a daily basis at Rootstock, which is to map out the intricate journey manufacturers take in terms of using technology to achieve business transformation. Whereas most ski trails lead you back to a lodge where a warm toddy awaits, Stu’s map leads manufacturers to Rootstock as the #1 manufacturing ERP on the Salesforce Platform.
And if you’re a leader at a manufacturing company and haven’t heard of Rootstock, Stu’s hard at work to change that.
Results Reign Supreme
When I spoke to Stu about his role—beyond managing product positioning, messaging, market research, competitive strategy, content and collateral—he boils it down to this: “My job is getting to know our customers and to understand their needs within the context of today’s business challenges.”
Since Stu came on board in August 2021, he’s been focused on exactly that—scheduling time with customers. When he first started, lingering COVID variants forced most of these meetings to be held via web-conferencing and webinars. But as the world re-emerged from the pandemic, he began to travel to in-person conferences to meet with and even share the stage with customers, speaking alongside them about key manufacturing trends. His most valued trips came in the form of actual customer visits, where he had the opportunity to walk through plants and warehouses and get a glimpse of customer operations from the inside.
“Every one of our customers has a story, and I want to hear them all. I want to understand their challenges and successes, basically get a handle on what’s at issue for them.”
Stu came to Rootstock with over 20 years of experience in manufacturing and 10 years of experience in marketing. “At one time, there were three important things in marketing—benefits, benefits, and benefits,” he quipped. “Today, it’s more about outcomes. Manufacturers are looking at the problems they have today—which they won’t have tomorrow if they can put the right software in place. They’re asking how a system can help them grow their business, enhance productivity, and become more profitable. And it’s my goal to ensure we articulate how Rootstock provides these advantages.”
The Wow Factor
Stu was initially drawn to Rootstock because it’s a manufacturing ERP built on the Salesforce Platform. In this way, it operates as a centralized control—or what Stu calls the “Manufacturing Operating System.” It then becomes the foundation from which everything else a manufacturer needs basically “plugs in,” whether it’s CRM, Service Cloud, or another solution from the Salesforce AppExchange, such as Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) or Quality Management Systems (QMS).
“In the past, software operated in silos, and manufacturers had to piece together an enterprise solution one function at a time. Salesforce turns this model on its head, as it presents an end-to-end platform on which manufacturers can easily add solutions that are already natively connected. According to Nucleus Research, this approach accelerates typical ERP deployments by over six months and reduces IT overhead by 40 percent. These are the types of outcomes that are driving Rootstock’s growth and enabling outstanding customer retention.”
Well-Suited for the Position
If you take a look at Stu’s background, you’ll find a consummate professional who has been custom-made for the position. He started out as a mechanical engineer, working at several companies in different industries, including aerospace. He then jumped to the front-end of manufacturing, working for a PLM solution provider, and finally came to roost in the ERP space.
“I’ve worked in almost every software category that a manufacturer would need, so landing at the center of an end-to-end manufacturing platform presents not only an excellent fit, but also an exciting opportunity for me to bring all of my experience to bear,” said Stu.
Stu reports to Chief Marketing and Product Officer Raj Badarinath, “Stu’s taking on a global role that supports our company’s next phase of growth. Anyone on our marketing or product teams will attest to the fact that he’s a dynamo, bringing a high level of energy and passion to our mission to enable customer success and to educate the industry about our solutions.”
“I’m thrilled to be growing my team and currently looking for someone who has manufacturing experience and can describe business challenges and solutions in the language of the manufacturer,” added Stu. “But beyond my team, people should check out all the career opportunities Rootstock has to offer.”
In the next leg of his journey, Stu has a singular focus to help manufacturers prepare for what’s ahead. “Analysts say companies need to digitally transform their operations, but manufacturers may have a slightly different business focus. For example, a key concern is the tight labor market. Manufacturers need technology solutions, so their staff can be more efficient. Team members then have access to the data that supports informed decisions and the tools that support greater collaboration across the enterprise.”
Stu says that in one sense, change is hard. No one wants to go through it unless they know there will be a guaranteed return on the effort. In that sense, he’s right; manufacturers have historically been conservative with a “let someone else go first” approach. They don’t jump onto the latest trend, which can be a sound approach in today’s rapidly evolving technology landscape. But what’s great about Rootstock is it’s a known quantity, and thousands of manufacturers are already on the Salesforce Platform. Newcomers can take a similar journey knowing the path is well-charted with an ERP on this next-generation platform.