This interview is part of our new AI in Supply Chain Management series, where we interview the world's top thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between AI and supply chain management.
In this interview, we speak with Paul Noble, CEO of Verusen, to understand how his company is using AI to transform supply chains, and what the future of supply chains holds.
1. What’s the story behind Verusen? Why and how did you begin?
PN: I spent more than ten years in industrial manufacturing supply chain operations for global coatings company Sherwin-Williams. During that time, I recognized the lack of optimization surrounding materials inventory, and the increasing costs that fragmentation caused.
The root cause was a lack of visibility between suppliers, distributors and manufacturers. I then founded AUTIT, which originally was a sales-enablement platform that helped distributors and suppliers better serve manufacturers by providing analytics and automated proposals. After a year of product development, I saw a disconnect with customers as they weren’t as tech-savvy as I expected — many didn’t even use a CRM system ― so the timing for this solution just wasn’t right. Then came the pivot, and that’s when we decided to target the other side of the supply chain, helping manufacturers run leaner operations and stay up to date on their materials inventories.
Many manufacturing plants keep large inventories of parts on hand due to the fact that any downtime can be costly. We knew that better data and inventory management, facilitated with AI technology, were key to ensuring increased uptime and more efficient supply chain operations. In 2019, we rebranded the company to Verusen to signify the foundational layer of how we wanted to enable companies — bringing data together — in harmony. Our platform and technology is about understanding the truth in data. The Latin definition of Verusen means: To make truth or to make real.
2. Please describe your use case and how Verusen uses AI:
PN: Verusen’s cloud platform uses advanced artificial intelligence to harmonize and provide visibility into materials inventory data from enterprise resource planning (ERP) and other systems. The platform’s predictive capabilities also optimize inventory and procurement. Not only does it help companies avoid overstock costs and production risks from inaccurate materials inventory, the platform also supports a more agile supply chain that better handles the dynamic pace of today’s business climate and changing customer demands.
The Verusen solution involves the most sophisticated artificial intelligence platform that can be efficiently deployed and effectively applied to provide materials visibility and digitization across global supply chains. The solution provides benefits in three key areas:
- Harmonize Disparate Inventory Systems Data
The technology automatically integrates with ERP and disparate data sources from single or multiple systems and one or many locations. Then, the AI learns from the company’s own data and inventory experts and encodes their knowledge to provide seamless data harmonization and a true material master.
- Control Policy and Procedures for Proactive Materials Management
With disparate inventory data harmonized, Verusen’s solution provides the ability to search for the right materials and reveal true quantities across the enterprise. This prevents the procurement of duplicate materials. It also helps identify potential duplicates during the new material creation process to prevent over-purchasing and excess quantities in the future.
- Predict Inventory Needs for Continuous Improvement
The technology builds upon the knowledge of a company’s inventory experts to create sustained, continuous application and improvement, including offering suggestions to continually optimize inventory allocation and procurement needs. Inventory reports help keep teams performing at the highest level while building trust between experts and data.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
PN: For one Fortune-500 pulp and paper manufacturer with 50+ facilities running multiple instances of SAP and other systems and holding $200+ million in materials inventory, Verusen’s AI and predictive inventory management found potential savings of more than 32 percent on inventory costs in the first year it was used. The company also eliminated an estimated $5+ million from overstocking and identified more than $25 million worth of liquidation opportunities.
4. What other AI use cases in Supply Chain Management are you excited about?
PN: Our vision is to build the intelligent, connected supply chain. We are intrigued and driven by the opportunity for system-agnostic AI to allow for greater visibility across multiple enterprises allowing for knowledge transfer, the transition of physical to digital goods, and a more predictive end-to-end supply chain.
5. Where will your company be in five years?
PN: We envision our technology as the data foundation to connect, increasing innovation and driving faster adoption of Industry 4.0. We want to be powering the digital exchange of materials and delivering the intelligence complex supply chains need to run their businesses more effectively.