PPHB: Energy Technology Musings Company Spotlight

PPHB Energy Technology Musings Company Spotlight, March 2020

For this Company Spotlight, we interviewed Kahuna Workforce Solutions Co-Founder and CEO, Jai Shah, about their efforts to transform competency management and workforce planning. Kahuna is a cloud-based platform that helps organizations get an objective view of their workforce’s capabilities, measure their talent supply against current and future demand, and maximize their return on training investments.

Background: Before co-founding Kahuna in 2014, Jai Shah spent numerous years implementing human resource software packages, such as SAP and Workday, into large organizations. While enterprise software solutions like SAP and Workday are great tools for human resource departments, companies in regulated industries, such as oil & gas, aerospace, and healthcare, found it difficult to track and document granular training and skills competency assurance. Today, Kahuna provides over 25 customers with a competency management platform that easily integrates into their current enterprise systems and enables them to better manage their workforce needs.

Use Cases: Kahuna is not just a regulatory compliance tool but rather a workforce development and planning resource. Kahuna integrates with existing enterprise solutions to pull pertinent data for the following customer use cases:

  1. Prioritizing Operational Excellence: Kahuna helps organizations standardize required competencies required for each specific type of personnel needed for a job and creates a checklist/roadmap for the entire team to hold each other and themselves accountable. Through an emphasis not just on training completion but also continuous competency assurance and feedback, organizations are able to promote a safe, productive, and reliable work environment for its workforce and customer base.
  2. Shortening Time to Productivity: By better understanding, at an individual-by-individual level, the skills someone is proficient in and the skills identified as areas requiring improvement (by managers, peers, and the employee), an organization using Kahuna is able to minimize the time between when an employee is onboarded to a certain team and when they are a net positive contributor by eliminating redundant training programs, which leads to better profitability.
  3. Managing Distributed Teams: In workforces containing varying levels and scopes of expertise across a professional staff located across several geographies, it is very difficult to identify and/or locate where specific skillsets are within an organization. Kahuna can streamline this effort by not only tracking who has had certain types of training but also by the types of projects/jobs with which they have experience/expertise, enabling a more efficient deployment and development of an organization’s workforce.
  4. Proving Workforce Competency Metrics to Customers: Today, it is very difficult for operators to accurately assess the competency of its vendors and service companies, as they must rely on what is communicated to them in sales pitches and/or bid packages. Kahuna’s ability to standardize and grade relevant competencies for each type of job enables customers to gain a much better understanding into the specific expertise (or deficiencies) of different companies’ workforces and make a more informed comparison, much like ISNetworld does for safety metrics.

Closing Thoughts: Kahuna provides companies across the energy, aerospace, and healthcare industries with the most granular and complete data regarding workforce competency, but it doesn’t stop there. Kahuna also creates tools that feed off this data, enabling managers (both in HR and operations) and the workforce to make better-informed decisions and be more efficient at their jobs. With Kahuna’s team continuing to improve their offering with further efficiencies, we are excited to see how this technology will enable companies to be nimbler and better compete in this market environment.

About PPHB
PPHB is a boutique investment banking firm focused exclusively on the energy service and equipment sector. Leveraging deep industry knowledge and experience, since its formation in 2003, PPHB has advised on more than 100 transactions with close to $10 Billion in total value. PPHB advises in mergers & acquisitions, both sell-side and buy-side, raises institutional private equity and recently added a debt advisory practice. The firm provides clients with proven and likely unmatched investment banking partners, committed to the industry and committed to success.