ProvisionAI: How This Company Is Helping Manage Transportation Plans In Supply Chains

By Amit Chowdhry • May 2, 2023

ProvisionAI is a company that offers the Patented LevelLoad SaaS platform to create accurate, executable, and optimal Deployment Transportation Plans. To learn more about the company, Pulse 2.0 interviewed ProvisionAI founder and CEO Tom Moore.

Tom Moore’s Background

Moore was born and raised in New Zealand. After going to college for degrees in mathematics and operations research, Moore came to seek a fortune in North America. Working in basic manufacturing, Moore learned many skills from planning to operating truck fleets and warehouses. These skills were later applied in consulting for what was then a boutique logistics firm.

In 1991, Moore set up his own shop and one of the first clients (and still a client today) was Procter & Gamble. They wanted to make truck loading in case picking much more efficient and they were able to create software that guided the picker through the “best end path” to create a stack that was both damage free and efficient.

“The successful software venture later allowed us to expand into other areas, one of which was creating the load in the first place I creating the optimal order that best fills the capacity of the truck,” Moore said.

How The Idea For ProvisionAI Came Together

While working with a large CPG company, the company mentioned that filling up the truck was a really good thing, but the deployment signal was all over the place.

“It was very hard for them to ship two trucks in one day and 20 the next,” Moore pointed out. “Additional, on 20-load days, sites couldn’t receive the volume adding to detention and, in some cases, degraded order-fill. Looking at the deployment signal from a range of supply-planning systems showed that they were not unique. Out of that was the genesis of a new idea – – that idea turned into LevelLoad, a product of ProvisionAi.”

Entrepreneurship In The Moore Family

Entrepreneurship has been a major component of the Moore family. Tom Moore’s son Keith also oversees the growth of AutoScheduler.AI and ProvisionAI.

“My father was an entrepreneur and now so is my son. They say it runs in families. When I’m asked to speak to school children about being an entrepreneur, I use the following trick: I hold a five-dollar bill up in the air and say ‘Who wants it?’ All the kids raise their hands. Then I say ‘Come and get it’ and everybody tries to get out of their seat, but are held back by some mental inhibition. Maybe they are thinking ‘he’ll take it away from me’ but one kid in there invariably comes up grabs the five-dollar bill and gets to keep it. That person is an entrepreneur. That’s what we’ve been able to do.”

Plus it also helps to be “a little weird,” Moore quipped. “By being weird you look at things in a different way. Having a strong quantitative background helps. And knowing that there are a lot of people out there who are much smarter than I am, collectively we have been able to successfully leverage ‘out their ideas,’ combined with a thorough understanding of how things operate, and turn them into practical, operational tools. In many cases, companies didn’t even know they really needed what was developed — until they can’t live without it.”

Challenges Faced Building The Company

When I asked Moore about some challenges faced in building the company, he cited 3 points:

1.) Most companies intuitively know that they experience pain since the deployment signal is “all over the place.” But they do not know that they are probably using more transportation capacity than they really need. The company did a study of over 150,000 trucks moving in Georgia and over 10% of them were underloaded by 2,000 pounds or more. So challenge number one is to introduce the problem so everybody understands, and then provide the solution which is the LevelLoad software

2.) The technology involved in leveling and optimizing loading is quite complex. Leveling has many constraints, transit times, and costs to consider over a month or more where decisions made for Friday impact, for example for warehouse space constraints, the subsequent days. And customer service is paramount so everything must be done to reduce the risk

3.) For developing the technology, you need really smart people. But being smart is not enough. And it’s quite important that those building software have a good understanding of how business works. Finding the right blend of smart and street-smart is very hard.

Core Products

LevelLoad from ProvisionAi has 3 distinct functions:

1.) Leveling – Smoothing out the spikes but at the same time ensuring all constraints are met for space, site throughput capacity, transportation capacity/cost, and customer service. And it’s very important that this is done holistically across the total network. You cannot solve a problem at one site at the expense of another and all needs and capabilities must be balanced.

2.) Load optimization – Building loads that use all the capacity in the trailer is important not just for saving money but also for the environment. And LevelLoad incorporates load-building software and 3-D diagramming of the shipment. This capability has improved payload by 4% to 8%. Last year, load optimization took 180,000 truck journeys off the road.

3.) Early tendering – Given the company is projecting transportation needs using the LevelLoading functionality for every lane, it’s possible to commit to carriers. The challenge with doing this in a traditional environment is that knowing exactly what will be on those loads, knowing what should be on those loads becomes better defined the closer you are to the shipping date. Plus early tendering is done with dummy codes and at a later point in time those dummy codes are removed and replaced with the most needed product.

Biggest Milestones

When I asked Moore about the biggest milestones for ProvisionAi, he cited going live with Kimberly-Clark.

“As the first customer, they proved the capabilities to manage at scale a very large network with extremely-high shipment volume,” Moore noted.

Customer Success Story

When I asked Moore about a customer success story, he highlighted Kimberly-Clark. Kimberly-Clark presented at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) last year as an innovation award finalist.

As a $20 billion company, they have significant scale and a large network and they showed significant improvements in their many metrics including:

– First tender acceptance: significantly improved.

– Cost: significantly improved.

– Customer service: maintained or slightly improved.

– Volatility: substantially reduced.

Plus they pointed out that the carrier partners have enjoyed the benefits of more-predictable volume and Moore is certain this is helping with each successive bid process.

The company is self-funded

Total Addressable Market

What is the total addressable market (TAM) size that ProvisionAI is pursuing?

“Of the top 100 CPG companies, we see more than 60 being able to use LevelLoad right out of the box,” Moore explained. “Beyond CPG, there are many companies in fields such as life sciences etc. that can benefit from LevelLoad.”

Differentiation From The Competition

What distinguishes ProvisionAI from its competition? “There is no viable competition for LevelLoad. The US patent officer has considered LevelLoad to be sufficiently unique that it is granted a patent for our methods,” Moore replied. “Some supply-planning systems may enable lane volume to be constrained at say 4 loads/day — but this, by itself, may be dangerous— denying needed product on a day when customers demand it.”

Future Company Goals

What are some of the future company goals? Moore emphasized evangelization.

“We need to teach companies that their deployment-volatility and load-size problems and network capacity issues have a solution —LevelLoad: 1.) Leveling 2.) Load optimization and 3.) Early tending,” Moore concluded.