As a Solutions Engineer at Crisp, Mahendra works with teams across CPG to tackle their biggest data challenges — and helps us all understand technology a bit better.
Role: Solutions Engineer
Lives in: Winter Garden, FL
Favorite grocery store product: Chicken tender sub from Publix (“all the Southern fried chicken goodness in a sandwich”)
If you’re ever trying to understand a complex technical topic at Crisp, you’ll often hear the phrase “ask Mahendra.” That’s because our resident Solutions Engineer has a special gift for turning technical details into easy-to-understand concepts. Working with Crisp’s customers, he turns those complex problems into elegant solutions that help brands realize their individual business goals. We sat down with Mahendra to discuss his role, the big opportunities he sees in retail, and what he loves about working at Crisp.
Your friendly neighborhood engineer
Mahendra was a Solutions Engineer before the role became commonplace, when customers and engineers were rarely in the same room. He started out as a developer in enterprise software, but discovered a unique skill set in communicating technical matters to other employees and customers, serving as a reference for everyone from CTOs to individual IT and business managers. As Mahendra gradually took this work on, companies throughout the industry started formalizing Solutions Engineers roles — and Mahendra had his new career path.
At Crisp, Mahendra works with brands to understand and scope their data challenges and come up with creative solutions. This requires not just offering up technical fixes, but also working within the customers’ unique constraints and realities to implement them. This often requires creativity and cross-functional collaboration across both sides of the sales process. In a recent example, he helped a customer re-organize and group their disparate retail data sets to make them more meaningful, reflecting how their products were organized and managed internally. He helped another customer implement Crisp’s integration with Google Big Query, which includes templates for Google Data Studio.
“Working at Crisp, I realized the challenges that we all saw in the news were directly related to what brands are dealing with today. And we can help.”Mahendra Mangaldin
Making a mark on the food landscape
With a specialized skill set in a booming field, Mahendra surely had his pick of jobs during his last search. But Crisp’s mission drew him in right away: the opportunity he saw to address food waste across the supply chain through data was significant. A self-proclaimed food lover, Mahendra hadn’t worked in the retail food space before, but the chance to step outside of his comfort zone to tackle a global issue was exciting. When he got to Crisp, the scope of opportunity only got bigger as the industry found itself in the peak of the pandemic: “I realized the challenges that we all saw in the news were directly related to what these brands are dealing with today. And we can help.”
Mahendra sees plenty more opportunity for Crisp to add value: for instance, helping companies reduce wasted ad spend with a real-time understanding of when and where products are in stock, or using inventory data to promote surplus products before they expire. “I have learned there is so much breadth and depth to this space,” he reflects. “This is yet another industry that is under-served technology-wise, and there is so much more we can do on the technical side to solve these problems. To me, that has been fascinating.” He also loves working with emerging food brands, and makes a point to try all of their new products (he was quick to recommend Nuts N’ More’s “birthday cake” peanut butter flavor).
Working from the sunshine state
When Mahendra isn’t problem-solving in CPG, he’s spending time with his family (and chasing after his two-year old) in Winter Garden, Florida, outside of Orlando. Working for a remote company has allowed Mahendra to live outside a major city, enjoying Winter Garden’s quaint small-town vibe with nearby perks. After all, he is in Disney World’s backyard, giving his two-year old plenty of opportunities to see Mickey Mouse in real life.
Mahendra also appreciates that Crisp’s remote culture has brought together colleagues from all over the world. “What I really value here is the social perspective you get from your coworkers being from all different places. We have a unique opportunity to bring together a much more diverse set of employees, which makes a big difference. I personally have found some of the most intelligent people I have ever worked with at Crisp.”