The manufacturing supply chain is still recovering from a nine-month long standoff between longshore workers and employers on the U.S. West Coast ports, and will for months to come. The labor dispute caused major disruptions resulting from port shutdowns, accused slowdowns, and all-in-all created a massive backlog of cargo that prevented goods from reaching warehouses and store shelves.
The port labor mess, which finally came to a resolution Feb. 20, was the most prominent example in the last few years of the major effects such a crisis can have on the supply chain. Other disruptions caused by labor issues, weather, accidents, or human error are unpredictable for those at ports, distribution centers, and factories.
Roei Ganzarski, President and CEO of BoldIQ, envisions a world where disruptions don’t need to be so disruptive. While supply chain crises can't be predicted, their effects can be minimized through preparation, and that’s the purpose behind Seattle-based BoldIQ, which pilots a resource optimization and disruption management software.
In a nutshell, the software uses real-time data to create the best possible operating plans for an organization, taking all of its data into account including resources, demand, costs, rules, and constraints.
The key word with BoldIQ is optimization – designed for during times of disruption, as well as times of calm. The software takes into account all the moving parts of an operation and finds the solution that maximizes efficiency. So even when things are running smoothly, BoldIQ can find ways to increase profitability and growth.
Any company could grow by adding more resources. It can buy more trucks, hire more people, add warehouse space, etc. But that kind of growth is very costly. The aim of BoldIQ is to spur growth by maximizing resources already in place.
“By optimizing your business in real-time, all the time, you’re able to grow without investment,” says Ganzarski.
BoldIQ’s origins and most prominent applications so far have been in aviation, but the company is looking to branch out into more supply chain operations. Be it in shipping, fleet management, distribution, staffing, inventory, or beyond, there’s a wealth of opportunities.
“The key that we focus on right now is world complex dynamic industries,” says Ganzarski. “So basically it’s any industry in which you have a lot of resources, a lot of demand, where your environment continues to change every day – be it for good reasons or bad. They include transport, staffing, on-demand delivery, healthcare, energy distribution, aviation, etc. In all those industries, there is no such thing as a “plan” – there is just the best thing to do right now. And it changes, it could be a minute from now or an hour. That’s where our software sits, takes all that data, and continues to pump out the best solution for that specific operation and that specific organization for that period of time.”
How it works
So how exactly does BoldIQ work? How does it create an optimal operation solution? The software uses an algorithm that breaks an environment into four key parts: Resources, data around demands, rules and regulations, and business drivers. To illustrate this, let’s apply it to the ports industry.
- Resources – This would include ships, cranes, trucks, and employees, as well as the cost for each.
- Data around demands – This would include the number of ships/containers/trucks needed, how many of each are going in and out, how many are going on cranes, trucks, and trains.
- Rules and regulations – This would include port labor agreements/contracts, safety rules and limits.
- Business drivers – This includes operational goals such as easing the trade of goods, and the ports' financial goals.
The software takes those four factors in real-time and says “with what I see now, what should I do?” and creates a solution that minimizes disruption and maximizes efficiency.
“It’s a chess game. You want to look 3-4 steps ahead, but every move of your opponent makes you adjust,” Ganzarski says. “This software says ‘this is the best plan right now.’ Now all the user has to do is see what options it gives them.”
Watch a video overview of the software here:
The software can take much of the guess work out of supply chain disruptions. For example, if truck or shipment of valves is going to be late to a distribution center, or machinery breaks down, delaying an outbound shipment, the platform creates a solution that optimizes current inventory. Instead of naturally saying, ‘these valves were supposed to go to these 10 stores, so now those 10 stores will be out,’ inventory can be optimized to say, ‘I could now move this truck of valves to different stores where sales would be higher.’
“The engine, because it’s not very industry specific, can adapt to various problems with industries,” Ganzarski says. “You can apply it all the way up and down the supply chain to improve the overall industry.”
BoldIQ's roots are in aviation. The software was built in the early 2000’s by PhD members of global software company Citrix as a means of driving all the moving parts of DayJet, an on-demand airline. DayJet operated with Citrix’ software for three years before going bankrupt in the 2008 economic downturn. But out of that, the software and key members of DayJet were retained, and the operation was moved to Seattle, where it eventually became BoldIQ.
“What we do today is basically – for lack of a better word – generalize that original engine, and continue to enhance it and expand on it,” Ganzarski says. “Today what it does is produce schedule plans in real time – and I’m talking milliseconds and seconds – for the best use of all of your resources to meet your demands – at any given time, given all of your data.”
One of the best examples of what BoldIQ can do for an operation is what it’s done with private jet company JetSuite. In 2011, the California-based company had approximately 35 staff members and five planes servicing California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Oregon. JetSuite set out to provide its service to a wider audience, but ran into challenges surrounding logistics and inventory. Things like last-minute customer requests, operational constraints, aircraft maintenance, staffing schedules, and changing weather limited growth.
JetSuite selected BoldIQ and implemented its software, managing the airline's day-to-day operations. Today, the results speak for themselves. Since partnering with BoldIQ, JetSuite has grown from a $7 million company to more than $50 million in 3½ years, doubling its top-line revenue for four years straight. The company now has more than 200 staff members and 20 planes, servicing around 3,000 cities in the U.S., Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean. Recently, JetSuite was ranked fourth in total hours flown and second in aircraft utilization by aviation research group ARGUS International, even as the youngest charter airline of all companies considered.
BoldIQ is certainly staying busy. Following the lead of JetSuite, several other companies that provide airlines with operations management systems have recently partnered with with BoldIQ to utilize its software. Merlot.aero announced their partnership last November, and Jeppesen Solution followed suit in December. Back in June 2014, GlobeAir announced BoldIQ as its software provider in its integration of private jet platform PrivateFly.com. BoldIQ has also been looking into drone management.