Scale AI supporting 12 more projects

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by Emily Atkins

SCALE AI, the agency responsible for promoting the development of artificial intelligence (AI) in Canada, has announced 12 new projects will receive $50 million in funding.

Most of the projects are aimed at improving supply chain management processes.

“The collaboration between players in this sector has resulted in a series of initiatives and investment programs that touch on all areas of AI development: talent training, the emergence of Canadian expertise and excellence in AI, the development of start-ups and SMEs, and the implementation of AI in sectors across the economy,” said Hélène Desmarais, co-chair of the board of directors, SCALE AI.

Demand forecasting

Save-On-Foods will build and integrate several AI solutions to develop a demand forecasting model with the goal of ensuring the right products are in the right place, at the right price for their customers. An algorithm will automate scheduling of e-commerce deliveries to improve productivity and align with customer demand.

SCALE AI is contributing $2.8 million to this $7.2-million project. Save-On-Foods is working with D-Wave Systems, ThoughtsWin Systems, White Box Analytics, OpsGuru, and Deloitte.

“Canada’s grocery retail sector is highly competitive and Save-On-Foods is committed to delivering extra-mile service to our customers in Western Canada and the Yukon,” said Chris Allen, vice-president information technology, Save-On-Foods. “The AI project supports our efforts to improve the supply chain and ensure we have the right products at the right time for our customer.”

Cost and pricing estimates

Ray-Mont Logistics already relies on AI to optimize its transloading terminal operations. The Apollo.AI Project will enhance its decision support systems by suggesting customer pricing estimates based on transportation and transloading capacity, as well as forecasting costs. AI-based decision support system will enable better customer service and a more accurate estimation of the completion of orders.

SCALE AI is contributing $1.2 million towards this $2.5 million project. Ray-Mont’s partners are Volume Freight, IVADO Labs, and Faimdata.

“This dynamic pricing and freight routing system will improve supply chain fluidity while leveraging Ray-Mont’s capabilities in terms of transloading, railways, shipping lines, and domestic transportation,” said Luke Mireault, chief innovation officer, Ray-Mont Logistics. “As a result, the company’s customers and commercial teams will observe reduced delays and more flexibility.”

Integrating building supplies data

The goal of this project is to use data inputs that are readily available in disparate systems and use advanced AI techniques to solve three of the most pressing bottlenecks in the building materials supply chain: accurately forecasting demand, maximizing truck loads, and optimizing warehouse layouts.

Adastra, Taiga Building Products, and Standard Building Supplies are working together on the $2.8 million project with a $1.1 million contribution from SCALE AI.

“By using AI to enable data-driven decisions on these critical elements of Taiga’s supply chain there will be a direct impact on the consumer in the form of more accurate inventory information, lower costs, and a wider selection of products,” said Darren Edery, CEO of Adastra. “Standard Building Supplies, one of Taiga’s retail customers, will participate in the project and provide real-time data that will be integrated into Taiga’s just-in-time inventory model to create tangible impact along the building materials supply chain.”

Routing algorithms

Routific Solutions is developing new machine learning algorithms to better predict ETAs using historical traffic data that takes into account the day of the week and time of day to optimize routes. By incorporating traffic patterns and driver behaviours, this solution will help more accurately estimate travel times, which will allow for increased delivery efficiencies.

 The company is working with Flashbox and Flourist with a $1 million contribution from SCALE AI towards the $2.4 million total project cost.

“Algorithm-based routes increase profits by making more stops per route,” said Marc Kuo, founder and CEO, Routific Solutions. “The new features we’re building into our machine learning solution will will increase driver efficiency and help companies grow and stay competitive, especially as they navigate a tough economic climate.”

Hospital inventory control

Logibec’s DAL-IA project (Artificial Intelligence for Management, Supply and Logistics) aims to develop a solution that prevents stock-outs in hospitals through improved consumption forecasting of more than 50,000 essential products. The solution will also offer availability predictions for potentially delayed or incomplete orders. It will be incorporated into Logibec’s existing material resource management solution, already in use in more than 70 percent of healthcare facilities in Quebec.

SCALE AI is contributing $2.4 million to the $5.7 million project that is being delivered by Logibec in partnership with CHUM, Moov AI, and Chair in Analytics and Logistics in Healthcare (HANALOG) at Polytechnique Montreal.

“This project will propel hospitals into a proactive inventory and supply chain management mode through predictive intelligence,” said Anne Nguyen, director of product, analytics and innovation at Logibec.

“Artificial intelligence is a powerful tool for improving hospital performance, eliminating waste and achieving significant savings. These benefits will also translate into peace of mind for healthcare professionals who will know that the equipment they need to care for their patients will always be available in time, quantity, and quality.”