The Technology Headlines

Algo.ai: Using AI for Optimizing Inventory Management

Today, data is becoming one of the most valuable assets for many enterprises. From Manufacturing to IT, every industry is trying to find ways to become more data-driven and optimize their operations. The supply chain arena is no different, with most practitioners thinking about how to use data and quantitative methods to improve decision making across all levels of the supply chain.

However, the sheer quantity of data is exceeding the analyzing capabilities of many organizations. As a result, many supply chain professionals are struggling to collect, clean, and manage the right data across their departments, sources, and siloed systems. It is no wonder that Supply Chain is one of the areas most behind in the adoption of AI according to several new studies.

This is where Algo.ai comes in with its industry-specific full-stack Enterprise AI platform that not only solves customers' data problems but also creates immense operational and strategic value through successful Supply Chain AI implementations. The company provides a robust vendor-managed inventory and supply-chain analytics platform for retailers and their suppliers. AlgoTMhelps customers launch new products, optimally manage their inventory, and takes the guesswork out of in-store merchandising. Algo.ai also offers a unique, risk-free rapid implementation process that gets to ROI much faster than traditional approaches.

The journey to Algo.ai

Before founding Algo.ai

in 2016, Amjad Hussain and his partners built SilkRoute, a Vendor Managed Inventory SaaS provider. Amjad's background included building data-driven supply chains and business intelligence tools for some of the world's largest distributors of media products. This background, combined with some groundbreaking research done with Dr. Dimitris Bertsimas and Dr. Nathan Kallus at MIT, led Amjad to found SilkRoute in 2008.

Silkroute started its journey as a Vendor Managed Inventory SaaS platform and IT services provider, and over the years, the company expanded its solutions to include mobile application, business intelligence, IoT and other custom software applications. SilkRoute's first customer — Tesco, the UK's largest retailer, started them down a road of providing mission-critical and data-heavy applications for Fortune 500 enterprises.  Reflecting on his entrepreneurial journey, Hussain says, "It gave us some revenues, so we could invest any economic margins back into the company and develop many more products and solutions. That is how it started."

The success of Silkroute's SaaS products and the increasing demand for predictive and prescriptive analytics led Hussain to conceive and build a unique horizontal Enterprise AI platform for data analytics powered by a Natural Language interface. Today, Silkroute is being operated as part of the Algo.ai family and is seeing rapid growth due to its mixture of cutting-edge technology and long-lasting relationships with many fortune 500 companies. "To this day, we have retained 100% of our customer relationships and reinvested our revenues in growth and product development," says Hussain.

Vertical Specific AI

To effectively leverage the power of Big Data and AI, a team must both have the rare combination of technical know-how and domain expertise.  The Slikroute team includes domain experts in retail inventory management, retail analytics, in-store inventory planning, and warehouse inventory planning. Pairing domain experts for each functional area with a highly skilled team of data scientists, machine learning and software engineers has allowed the company to develop flexible, full-stack solutions that leverage the AlgoTMplatform, which uses a conversational interface to accomplish an array of data analytics and smart workflows comprised of both people and machines. Further, Hussain says, "Predictive and prescriptive analytics are used heavily along with other machine learning algorithms in making optimized decisions under uncertain conditions and tradeoffs for millions of products faster than humanly possible."

SkyLight + AlgoTM

SkyLight is Silkroute's longest running SaaS solutions. It is a robust vendor managed inventory tool, which optimizes all aspects of the retail demand chain with a mission to sense demand, stock smart, sell more, and see everything. SkyLight receives POS (Point of Sale) data from the world's top retailers and merges it with internal and 3rd party data to effectively manage multiple product categories for the retailers as well as their suppliers, wholesalers, and distributors.

SkyLight's key functionality includes new product introduction, demand sensing and shaping, demand driven replenishment, assortment optimization, and reverse logistics. Now, powered with AI from the AlgoTM platform, SkyLight employs superior demand forecasting, perpetual inventory management, and assortment optimization algorithms. "SkyLight is a high performance rapidly deployable and easy to use solution with a global and growing customer footprint,” says Hussain.

Customer Relationships

"As a bootstrapped company we have had to rely on our customers to fund our growth; hence our customers are our #1 priority," says Hussain.

Algo.ai's most important focus is on customer success. The company believes that the most effective source of new business is through its customer's referrals and references. Therefore, it develops solutions according to customer needs and ensures that customer relationships are built on trust and a mutually shared mission.

Hussain proudly remarks, "We work hard to deliver, and our customer relationships reflect that." He adds, "Our very first check was just a couple of hundred thousand. Very soon, that relationship became over a million dollar a year relationship that is long-standing and still growing. To effectively support large enterprise customers, you have to be willing to grow and fill the gaps they have and support their missions like they are your own."

This attitude and focus on customer success has proved to be pivotal in gaining significant market share in niche categories such as Home Entertainment and Music distribution. Additionally, Algo.ai was recently recognized in an Entrepreneur article highlighting the journey to achieving "negative churn," often considered the holy grail for SaaS companies.

Looking Ahead

Amjad kept hearing from customers that they have unique problems that they want to solve with some novel AI and ML approaches, but they needed a partner that can produce more reliable outcomes than their in-house efforts. To this end, Algo.ai recently launched AlgoVision Lab, an internal R&D department that works to design, test, and deploy novel AI methods using their proven B2B integration framework.

Going forward, Algo.ai intends to expand its business across the globe. It has already extended its reach by launching a new office in London last year. They are also on the hunt for new talent and technologies: "We believe in a smart M&A strategy and are always interested in talking to small entrepreneurial teams with great talent, innovative concepts, and unique technologies that can benefit our enterprise customers" concludes Hussain.

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