McRock Jumps into Poka to Connect and Empower Frontline Factory Workers

mcrock poka blog

Poka closes US$25 million Series B round to connect workers as the foundation of a digital transformation strategy.

Do the Poka…

The name Poka Yoke is the Japanese term for mistake proofing. The idea behind Poka was inspired by the challenges its CEO & Co-founder, Alex Leclerc, experienced while working at his 114 year old family food manufacturing business Leclerc. Which, for the record, makes some of the best cookies in the world.

Alexander teamed up with Antoine Bisson, a life-long friend and former engineer at Microsoft and Ubisoft, to create a software tool built specifically for manufacturers. Poka, a leading connected worker platform, has raised $25 million in Series B financing in support of the company’s next phase of growth. McRock Capital and 40 North Ventures joined existing investors Schneider Electric Ventures, CDPQ, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, and Leclerc in this financing round.

The manufacturing sector is facing a perfect storm of challenges from a worsening skills crisis, increased operational complexity and workforce volatility caused by the pandemic. According to a recent study from The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte (2021), 77% of manufacturers say they will have ongoing difficulties in attracting and retaining workers in 2021 and beyond. Poka helps address these challenges by giving factory workers the ability to learn continuously and solve problems more autonomously at the point of need.

Many industrial leaders including Nestlé, Bosch, Johnson & Johnson and Tetra Pak have committed to developing workforce competencies and operational knowledge by including Poka as a pillar of their digital transformation strategy. “The concept of connecting every single worker was the foundation of our digital journey and supports a highly collaborative culture while ensuring high quality standards for the production of Purina’s pet care products,” shared Paul Ingram, Director Digital Manufacturing Operations, Nestlé Purina. “We believe having workers connected and able to get information whenever and wherever they are in the factory is key to agility and our ability to continue advancing and innovating our processes.”

Digitally connected workers are empowered workers

Alex and the team at Poka have a goal to help their manufacturing clients turn every production problem on the factory floor into an opportunity to build collective knowledge, learn and improve.
For the McRock team, sampling high-quality cookies from the Leclerc factory might be one of the best investment analysis tasks we have ever done. More high-quality cookies please…