Alan Scroope's passion for innovation and a relentless drive for success is evident with the remarkable success he has achieved with FreeFlow, a multi-million-euro technology company with relationships with some of the world's largest technology firms.
Alan's journey began in Tralee, Co Kerry, where he embarked on a career while simultaneously pursuing accounting qualifications in Dublin. His experiences at M Kelliher (a Tralee based electrical wholesaler which was expanding nationally at the time) and Garvey's Supervalu provided a strong foundation, but it was during his tenure at 3Com that he encountered a significant industry challenge which ignited his entrepreneurial journey.
Identifying a Critical Industry Issue
At 3Com, Scroope was responsible for inventory management, where he confronted a glaring problem - excessive waste due to the regular disposal of older product models when new ones were introduced. This wastage, amounting to up to $30 million monthly, was a common issue in the tech industry.
The root cause of this problem extended beyond 3Com; it was an industry-wide dilemma. Companies relied on forecasts that were only 70 percent accurate, leading to substantial overproduction and wastage. For instance, certain FreeFlow clients could suffer losses of up to $1 billion if their forecasts were off by just 25 percent. The high-tech sector was collectively grappling with $22 billion in annual excess inventory.
The Birth of FreeFlow: A Solution to Excess Inventory
Recognising the need for a solution, Scroope patented an online auction system and, in 2001, founded FreeFlow. This innovative platform empowers companies to conduct web-based auctions for their surplus inventory, giving them full control over bid acceptance and rejection. FreeFlow also offers comprehensive product management, including options for repackaging and custom markings.
Furthermore, FreeFlow manages shipping, payments, customer relations, and dispute resolution, simplifying the entire process for companies and ensuring a seamless experience for all parties involved.
FreeFlow's Global Impact
Their comprehensive solution, including an online B2B auction platform, market research, pricing advisory, and post-auction financial services, has not only streamlined the process but also fostered a more sustainable approach. With a partnership with eBay and a global headquarters in Kerry, FreeFlow's reach extends far and wide, impacting businesses on an international scale. Today, FreeFlow has over 18,000 members worldwide and continues to expand its membership as more brands seek to extend product lifecycles and adopt a sustainability focus.
Alan Scroope's recognition as the EY Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006 underscores the company's commitment to excellence and innovation. It's a testament to his visionary leadership and FreeFlow's unwavering dedication to providing cutting-edge solutions in an industry that demands forward-thinking approaches.
As we look to the future, FreeFlow stands as a shining example of how Alan's vision many years ago was a catalyst for thousands of companies adopting a more sustainable approach to their business. By extending the lifecycles of products that would otherwise go to waste, they've not only transformed surplus inventory management but also set a high standard for success that continues to have global impact. To hear more about this inspiring journey, you can watch Alan's video from 2006 where he shares his entrepreneurial success story in his own words.
Watch Alan's video from 2006 to hear his entrepreneurial success story in his own words.