Communicating the Speed, Accuracy and Scale that AI Offers: A Conversation with Verusen CRO Jeff Wilson
Verusen continues to grow and welcomes its newest member to the leadership team, Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) Jeff Wilson. He has more than 20 years’ experience within the software industry―building and transforming growth within multiple industries―primarily within the supply chain market. He will immediately put that experience to work to propel the company’s mission forward to create Verusen’s intelligent connected supply chain for companies around the world.
Here we learn more about Jeff’s approach to business, his passions and the opportunities he sees ahead for Verusen:
You have an extensive background in the supply chain industry as well as work with master data management, what do you see as the opportunities and challenges in these areas?
Every company is trying to transform itself, and that means some sort of digital transformation―with “digital” focused on data. The opportunities are limitless. Companies should start by asking themselves: “How good (trusted) is our data?” Good data typically leads to “faster, better and cheaper” as an outcome.
Supply chains in particular are going through their own versions of digital transformation. The desired outcomes for today’s supply chains haven’t changed. They are focused on optimizing inventory/stock levels, reducing costs, and mitigating risks…but what has changed is HOW they achieve the desired outcomes by using data to transform their insights and supply chain innovations. Data management is now at the core of transforming the supply chain. Legacy approaches, including master data management (MDM), have been around a long time. MDM is certainly an option for organizations that can help build a foundation of good data, but it involves a legacy, costly and time-consuming approach. Supply chains need more intelligence and faster response capabilities in today’s changing demand-driven marketplace. MDM and other traditional solutions no longer meet the need for speed and efficiency to successfully achieve the business outcomes for both B2B and B2C supply chain use cases.
What attracted you to join the Verusen team?
To maintain competitive advantage, organizations are looking for their supply chains to help lead their business transformations. Business needs and can now take advantage of very focused solutions that are purpose built for specific financial and process-centric outcomes―for example, better and smarter management of inventory to reduce stock and working capital. This is not a new supply chain/financial requirement, but the approach taken is revolutionary. Verusen is at the forefront with “new age/intelligent” technologies that are focused on specific, outcome-based solutions for supply chain and inventory management―maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) for example. Leveraging new, innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and neural network capabilities, an organization’s data can transform how it views and builds supply chain strategies going forward. These capabilities allow for the harmonization of the data, while also providing the results, insights, speed to value, and scale needed to address critical inventory challenges. Best of all, this happens in less than 30 days―not months or years of big-bang data projects.
In your new job role, what are your responsibilities? What are your goals for Verusen―this year and for the longer term?
As CRO, I have responsibility for our sales and marketing strategies and teams. Verusen aligns very well with my background in supply chain, along with SAAS/cloud growth software company experience over the past 20 years. In the short term, we will build market awareness―build the brand of an innovative company that is helping lead supply chain transformations for organizations and their inventory/working capital initiatives. A longer term goal is to extend our vision and platform capability across the intelligent connected supply chain, increasing visibility and impact across organizations and their global trading supplier networks.
Today’s value is focused in the area of indirect materials and the MRO space. We want to expand that into the direct materials/finished goods area for manufacturers, and ultimately, throughout the supplier and distributor networks―which will certainly have significant impacts for how materials are procured across trading partners. Having the ability to seamlessly deliver inventory recommendations through our intelligent AI and machine learning platform means procurement decisions can be made more quickly, predictively and consistently.
Our partners will help us lean into this vision, along with our customer success helping guide the way.
Describe the type of company that would benefit most from Verusen’s solution?
If you consider the data-management maturity curve, companies are looking to transform their supply chains―wanting to better utilize their data. The typical data landscape today is very disparate. It’s built in silos and varies from plant to plant. Typically, plants can purchase their own inventory without leveraging an “optimized procurement policy.” How then do they build a connected intelligent supply chain at a macro level?
A lot of companies are trying to achieve this by centralizing purchasing decisions, versus regional or local. At the micro level, our solutions are a perfect fit for any manufacturer that depends on a level of stock “insurance.” Industries such as automotive, aerospace, pulp and paper, etc., are good examples of organizations that can take full advantage of the Verusen solution. These industries can carry significant inventory levels with a lot of working capital tied up on their balance sheets.
A lot has been written about the application of AI in the supply chain…what do you see as the misconceptions, opportunities and challenges that exist?
Today, when supply chain executives hear AI and ML, I believe it triggers an “Oh no!” or “What the heck is that?” reaction. Typically, they don’t understand how the technologies work, or how they will actually help them improve things. It’s a black box to them. So, it’s essential to break it down so that the benefits align with the desired business outcomes…and today that means with speed, scale and cost effectiveness, without sacrificing on any front.
As an example, take a team of four or five people who are looking through data, trying to clean and assimilate it to get to a point so that analysis and insight can begin. It usually means lots of spreadsheets and months of people cost. It just takes a long time when you’re talking about thousands and millions of records across plants.
But, when you insert a solution that harnesses the latest in intelligent data learning combined with trusted field knowledge necessary for user buy-in, you end up with a transformative, purpose-built solution with clean and harmonized data that can scale to value much faster. These scenarios applied in the AI/ML models occur in seconds/minutes versus days, weeks and months.
Equally important is helping companies understand that this is a journey. Not all companies’ data environments or transformation initiatives are created equal. Having a solution approach that is easy and with minimal impact on infrastructure is paramount to getting results and desired outcomes.
Solutions today must be “light, secure and require minimal user training and IT support.”
What do you like to do when you’re not helping companies optimize and transform their supply chains?
I am blessed with three beautiful daughters…all purpose built (just kidding)…all in college at the University of Mississippi. My wife and I love visiting them, football weekends in the fall, and enjoying all that The Grove and Oxford, Miss., have to offer. If you’ve had the chance to visit, you know it’s a great town and experience. Go Rebels!
Want to get more insight on adding speed, efficiency and accuracy into your materials data and inventory management? Readers can connect with Jeff on LinkedIn.