COVID-19 is perhaps the one inescapable factor in our lives at the moment. And arguably nowhere is it more felt than the global supply chain, especially now in the swing of the holidays across much of the world. One company seeks to build a solution to the global beast, and they are using cutting-edge artificial intelligence to do it. CEO of Progressive Labs Yaniv Dinur took some time to sit down with SpaceTechNation and look at what the supply chain really needs for a stable future economy.
STN – With the global supply chain issues as they stand, what does Progressive Labs do to address the complexity inherent in the system?
Yaniv Dinur – It took a long time to get the idea of the supply chain as a value system into the general conversation, but we got it there eventually. Progressive Labs looks at reducing the waste of supply chains by optimizing stock buffers at all levels instead of focusing on only one level of the supply chain at a time.
STN – That sounds like it should have been something we were already focusing on… or do I have the wrong idea?
YD – The issue that we have uncovered at Progressive is that everyone relies heavily on forecasts, which have a few issues. One, they are only as good as the data that goes into them. This is a problem because most forecasting happens at higher levels. The second is that forecasts at high levels are only accurate with large data sets, and even then, there is error. The nature of complexity is that you can’t predict things for certain, but human nature is to apply these forecasts like they are the absolute truth. And they just don’t apply at the lower levels.
STN – So it sounds like the solution is to look at all levels, like you mentioned. How do you manage to do that?
YD – Well, we use genitive algorithms and machine learning, AI essentially, to develop models at every level of demand. So the lead time of the retailer maybe a few days, and they have their demand, and the wholesaler might be a few months, and they have demand, on up to the manufacturer where the lead time is often years. So we integrate demand sensing at all levels to allow businesses to react quickly.
STN – That seems like it would only work if you had the full supply chain market data. How do you work with companies that don’t have vertically integrated supply chains?
YD – Well, all supply chains have output and input, even if they are vertically integrated. There’s very few companies that own the entirety of their supply chain.
But we can us cascading demand signals to essentially provide very accurate forecasts at each echelon of manufacturing, wholesaling, and retail. This obviously needs a translation to some industries, but the principle is the same.
STN – Ok, I think I’m beginning to build a picture here. So, if you had to sum it up, what does Progressive Labs do for supply chains and companies?
YD – Yes, it seems complicated but at the bottom of things, supply chains are pull systems and we can’t afford to try to make them push systems by applying high-level forecasts.
So, Progressive uses propriety machine learning and genitive algorithms to let companies dynamically manage buffers at all levels of a supply chain. This increases efficiencies across the board, and gets the right amount of product to the right people at the right time, with minimal overhead.
STN – Thank you so much for your time and energy. Would you answer just a few more questions for our readers?
- What is the origin story of your company? Why was it founded, and how?
I was a supply chain consultant for many years, working globally and never at home. I hoped to take all the knowledge and experience I gained in the consulting years working with the biggest companies in the world into a one SaaS solution and travel less. Well, one thing happened (SaaS solution) and one thing not (be more at home). I founded the company in 2014, teaming up with a powerful technological partner.
- Is this your first experience with deep tech/aerospace?
No, in my days as a consultant, I worked a lot with the aerospace world, and in my corporate days, I was working in the defense and later the communication tech industry for many years.
- Who are the team members, and how was the team formed?
The company’s CTO is Pini Usha, a very experienced software engineer who worked for many years to develop top-of-the-art fin-tech solutions. Also, our head of development, Vicko Saban, came from the same world of financial software solutions.
- In the future, would you sell (exit) or rather build a large company, and why?
We trust our focus is to develop breakthrough technology and methodology for the supply chain. Eventually, it is a game of the big players, and there are consolidations all the time in this market. If your mission is to make a change and really help the industry, teaming up with the big players will eventually be the right direction.
- What impact did COVID have on your decision to start the company, or on your current activity?
COVID19 created much interest in intelligent supply chain solutions. The uncertainty that typifies supply chains grew dramatically, and more and more interest from all players, from customers to VCs, was created.
- Who are your ideal partners?
Today we are working with some market giants. We have some huge customers that used to use the old traditional solutions, realizing that our expertise as ERP agnostic add-on solution is needed. We trust that growing more and more will generate the interest of some major players in the tech world and some major players in the SI world to work with us.
- Where do you see your company five years from now?
- What is your definition of success?
Change enough customers to depart the old way of managing the supply chain by adopting a dynamic, demand-driven, constraint-based solution. So much waste will be eliminated, so much value will be created.
Read more about Progressive Labs at www.progressive-labs.com