In this interview, Pavan Palety, Founder and CCO of Samya.ai, discusses agility as a key to CPG revenue growth, recent customer successes and the Samya 10X Advantage. Prior to Samya.ai, Pavan held senior management positions at companies such as Markets and Markets and Mu Sigma. Pavan also advises a variety of start-ups on go-to-market strategies.
 
Could you tell us about your journey into the CPG market and Samya? 

Throughout my career, I’ve gained in-depth experience working with retail and CPG customers in varying capacities – as an analyst, consultant, customer success manager and business development professional. In addition, I’ve worked within various functions such as marketing, sales, FP&A, analytics and supply chain. I’ve been consistently drawn to this ever changing and fascinating CPG space, and equally committed to addressing the business challenges it faces.

When Deepinder Dhingra, COO/CPO at Samya, conceptualized the idea of bringing various operational elements and external data together to solve the problem of revenue growth for CPG, it just made sense. Today, many CPG companies are operating in silos, which means very few leaders are actually looking at the problem of revenue growth holistically. I’ve always been a believer in breaking down silos and looking at problems in an interconnected fashion. And this is no different for demand-supply networks. The potential of the problem is huge – $150 billion in the US alone. It made sense to solve it with a strong purpose-built product mindset and deep domain expertise. That’s really what brought all of us to Samya – we want to equip CPG companies with the tools they need to thrive in today’s complex and volatile environment.

 

In today’s complex and volatile market, agility is key to revenue growth. How does Samya operate in this context? Why are traditional systems failing?

Traditional ERP, planning and forecasting systems have their strengths, but because these systems don’t learn, they can’t respond to all the demand factors they encounter. They simply weren’t designed to adapt to the complexity and volatility in today’s environment.

Agility comes with focus and anticipation. And this is where Samya differs from traditional systems.

Focus – We’re a purpose-built AI company focused on the problem of revenue growth for the CPG industry. We’re not a generic AI company solving multiple problems for multiple industries and multiple functions. This helps us really focus and go deeper than others in exploring this problem, its challenges, workflows and solutions. For example, we’ve taken the time to interview over 100 CPG professionals and create an Advisory Board of industry thought leaders to ensure the voice of our CPG customers is at the center of everything we do.

Anticipation – Companies can be agile when they are prepared and can act with speed, rather than react – which is the often the case with millions of demand planners across the globe. They often find themselves in a reactive, past-focused mode, even with the myriad of solutions out there today. We wanted to change this. Through our first module, Dynamic Demand.ai, we’re delivering the unique capability to anticipate future risks and opportunities associated with demand plans and the likely revenue impact of these. This gives demand planners the chance to proactively respond to future risks.

 

How does Samya differentiate from competitors who are providing similar AI solutions?

Samya harnesses external demand signals, as well as signals from the core operational functions – sales & distribution, pricing & promotions and inventory – to understand the key levers and influencers of demand movement. No other enterprise AI company is effectively solving the revenue growth problem in an interconnected manner like this, at scale.

The typical approach to looking at revenue growth for CPG has been siloed – either the S&D problem, the promotions problem or the inventory problem. But, up to 2.5% of revenue leakage happens at the intersection of sales, promotions, and inventory – and there’s no common operating picture to understand demand movement. Demand planners need agility to handle massive amounts of continuously updated data at hyper speed and the ability to anticipate future risks and opportunities.

Our focus on and experience in the CPG/FMCG industries helps us go deeper and learn faster and better than others. With our first product launch this month, Dynamic Demand.ai, CPG companies can significantly improve the granularity of demand anticipation, increase the frequency of demand sensing and forecasting, and address and connect primary and secondary sales anticipation. And they can do it in the short, medium, and long term.

 

Can you tell us about one of Samya’s initial client success stories?

We’re currently running proof-of-value engagements (PoV) with selective Fortune 500 CPG companies across the globe with our first product, Dynamic Demand.ai. Across these PoVs, we’ve delivered significant boosts to forecast accuracy as well as agility of demand anticipation.

Our first engagement was with a $16 billion global personal care company. The company’s legacy demand planning and ERP tools were unable to adapt to changing demand patterns. In addition, the effects of special promotions and external factors like holidays and events, weren’t being considered. This resulted in poor forecasts, and either lost sales opportunities (depending on the channel – modern trade, traditional trade and e-commerce) or excess inventory costs across all channels.

Using shipment volume as a measure, the system focused on just 18 months of customer data, comprising of both erratic and smooth patterns. Concentrating on the predictors of inventory, promotional calendar and holidays/events (introduced by Samya), our solution was able to generate forecasts for three-month rolling and five-month rolling time horizons.  Using these inputs, Dynamic Demand.ai added 200 additional features to the modeling pipeline and was able to optimize the forecasts for all the combinations in a matter of few weeks with subsequent refreshes requiring only a few hours. The resulting forecasts could be compared directly with the company’s enriched / operational forecasts without need to look at the statistical forecast from the planning system.

The Dynamic Demand.ai solution, designed specifically for CPG companies, achieved a 10.5 percent improvement in forecast accuracy on the three-month rolling forecast, along with a 15.6 percent improvement on the five-month rolling forecast. That translated to a potential revenue growth of 1-2 percent for the combinations under consideration, apart from the improved run times and productivity benefits to the demand planners of the company.

 

What is the Samya 10X advantage and how does it benefit CPG companies?

Samya unites the power of deep learning, probabilistic machine learning, and reinforcement learning with 30 years of deep domain expertise to enable CPG companies to recapture their true revenue growth potential. If we break down the Samya 10X advantage- it comes from the combination of:

  1. Isolation of external and internal factors
  2. Consistent reconciliation of multi-level and multi-horizon plans
  3. Hyper speed and agility accommodates rapidly changing demand patterns
  4. Improved scalability and forecasting at a granular level
  5. Anticipation of future risks and opportunities not available in any other system
  6. Long-tail automation of 10,000-plus combinations
  7. All data is in one place versus chasing it down from multiple sources
  8. Incorporation of human intelligence with the removal of bias
  9. Cross-tower transparent connections
  10. Stability achieved even with high volume or high variations

 

Capture Revenue Growth Potential With Dynamic Demand.ai

Welcome to agile demand planning. Our engine blends intelligent cognitive automation and collaborative workflows to spot human bias, create transparency, and uncover previously hidden probabilities that will impact future inventory, promotions, and sales.

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