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Startup Spotlight: Dubai-Based AI Supply Chain Sensing Wants To Put An End To Logistical Disruptions (Even Before They Can Occur) In the case of supply chain disruptions, the solution often follows after they occur. But AISCS' solution bypasses the need for such a reactive response by adopting a more proactive approach.

By Aalia Mehreen Ahmed Edited by Aby Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

AI Supply Chain Sensing
Greg Urban, co-founder and CEO, AI Supply Chain Sensing

This article is part of an ongoing series covering startups that have been a part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) accelerator program.

"Out of stock": this is a phrase many of us may have become familiar with thanks to our purchasing experiences. But behind this three-word epithet is an issue that comes with a heavy price: supply chain disruption. A report by American cloud-based warehouse management system solution company 3PL Central shows that in 2021 -in the midst of the e-commerce boom- global businesses lost US$184 million due to supply chain disruptions alone. Having realized that the Middle East isn't insulated from the same problem, Greg Urban and Piotr Sulima founded Dubai-based AI Supply Chain Sensing (AISCS) in 2022.

"Supply chain disruptions are one of the current economy's biggest challenges, leading to sales and production blockages," says Urban. "Classic supply chain management does not solve the problem, and even modern solutions are limited to providing information, not predictions. However, the internet is full of data that can be used as warning signals. Our solution allows customers to predict supply shortages, before vendors inform them about orders cancelation or delays. Customers can take proper action to prepare for this situation."

Indeed, prevention is better than cure. In the case of supply chain disruptions, the solution often follows after they occur. But Urban argues that AISCS' solution bypasses the need for such a reactive response by adopting a more proactive approach.

AISCS' early alerts about transportation issues allow conducting what-if analysis on any changes that occur within transportation flows. Source: AISCS

"To do that, we combine know-how from the supply chain and internet monitoring using artificial intelligence to understand natural language, and to learn customers' supply chains," he says, while adding that AISCS delivers on this promise in three ways. First, its technology maps a given supply chain to detect and monitor transportation and logistics bottlenecks. Next, it offers early alerts and what-if analyses regarding changes in transportation flows- this, for example, could mean information on the selected means of transport before an order leaves a factory. And finally, using artificial intelligence, AISCS sends clients warning signals on rapid changes in orders, stock management, as well as for placing new orders with other vendors.

Related: Startup Spotlight: Abu Dhabi-Based Verofax's Traceability-As-A-Service Solution Is Helping Digitally Transform Brands In The UAE

The reasoning behind the AISCS operational model is backed by hard facts, of course. A 2022 study published in The Network Effect, a platform that discusses the latest logistics tech innovations, notes that legacy systems and traditional software solutions mainly contribute to supply chain inefficiencies. The same study notes that companies require "modern, technology-based solutions that provide them with greater visibility and actionable insights to handle potential supply chain disruptions." And it is a solution built on precisely such ideals that AISCS offers. "We predict supply chain disruptions, while other solutions only provide information about them when they happen," Urban explains. "Technology innovation thus has a crucial role in our future success. We develop artificial intelligence algorithms to draw the proper conclusion from different internet sources, and learn from previous disruptions. Our software learns the supply chains of our clients to predict problems better."

Currently in the initial stages of its launch, AISCS has gathered select clients to gain inputs for any further required development of its solutions. "The service is based on business-to-business subscriptions which depend on the level of integration with customers' enterprise resource planning and transportation management systems, as well as the number of vendors tracked," Urban explains. "At the moment, there are three people on our team and a bunch of external subcontractors."

AISCS' artificial intelligence algorithms draw conclusions from different internet sources and learn from previous disruptions. Source: AISCS

In setting up his business in Dubai, Urban admits that while there are plenty of benefits, there have been some significant downsides to it too. "Dubai offers a friendly environment for entrepreneurs with a lot of institutional support to set up business," Urban says. "However, there is a lack of early-stage investment funds ready for higher risk [projects], and no financial support similar to European Union funds. The biggest challenge up till now was to set up a bank account- something which takes 10 minutes online in other countries, took five months with tons of paperwork in Dubai."

Fortunately, however, the startup has found some guidance on how to navigate any other potential issues by enrolling in the MBRIF accelerator program. "The MBRIF program has allowed us to access the local market, and to have a critical look at our business," Urban declares.

Related: Startup Spotlight: Lebanon-Headquartered Mruna Is Bringing Its Urban Resilience Solutions To The UAE

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Features Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed is the Features Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East.

She is an MBA (Finance) graduate with past experience in the corporate sector, and was also co-founder of CyberSWIFTT- an anti-cyberbullying campaign that ran from 2017-2018 as part of the e7: Daughters of the Emirates program.

Ahmed is particularly keen on writing stories involving people-centric leadership, female-owned startups, and entrepreneurs who've beaten significant odds to realize their goals.

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