By combining operations research and artificial intelligence techniques, Cyrus Hadavi has solved some of the world’s most complex planning problems, resulting in millions of dollars in savings for Adexa clients. Founded in 1994, Adexa’s core mission is innovating the enterprise with intelligent information solutions that enable customers to set benchmarks in their industries. Here, the CEO talks to Sync about Adexa’s critical differentiator and his passion for customer service.
What makes Adexa’s system unique in the industry?
Hadavi: The key differentiator of our applications is that they are attribute-based, meaning the system is flexible and can mold itself into the company’s business processes very quickly. It can also grow or change with the company as priorities and business models change. Attributes also enable a much faster implementation, resulting in a much lower cost of ownership. Other competitive systems can be very rigid and rely on so-called “best practices” implementation, meaning a cookie cutter implementation for all. Customers who replaced our competitors’ systems with Adexa are now running their planning systems within a couple of hours instead of taking more than a day to generate a plan.
You’ve led Adexa to become one of the top supply-chain companies in the world. To what do you owe your success?
Hadavi: This might be a cliché, but I attribute our success to the people of Adexa who excel in what they do, from code design, development, and consulting to implementation and customer support. The people of Adexa are talented and visionary, but more importantly, they have high integrity and good values. If you look at the twenty-one-year history of the company, we have been through a lot, and the core group of Adexans has stayed with the company. The average length of our core group of consultants and architects is over sixteen years.
You work closely with all departments at Adexa and visit with customers regularly. Why is it important to you to be so hands-on?
Hadavi: It’s my passion and it’s what I enjoy doing. In the process I learn a lot from our customers. For me to be able to allocate the right amount of resources in the right direction, I need to know our customers’ day-to-day needs so we can help to take them to the next level.
How are intelligent information systems changing the way that people do business?
Hadavi: “Intelligence” can be defined in so many ways, but one definition I think is relevant here is the ability to build models of the world. Based on such models, we can extrapolate what the best decision is, based on an objective, like increasing profit. We build models of supply chains that clients use to forecast, buy, make, and store the right products or the right mix of products. Not too much and not too little, just the right amount at the right time. We refer to this as “supply-side predictive analytics.”
Moving forward, what are some of your goals for Adexa?
Hadavi: We are working on “robots” that search the big data looking for causes and trends that can improve the business or possibly harm the business. For example, why has inventory increased by 10 percent in certain products? We may notice the increase but we may not necessarily know why. These robots, called “Adexa Intelligent Miners” (AIM), look for the reasons and correlations between such events and their causes. Intelligent mining performs the grueling search so management can make informed decisions without spending a lot of time probing for answers. This is yet another area in artificial intelligence “learning” that we are using to make our applications more intelligent.