Anthony Howcroft, CEO
The key to fostering an optimized agri-food supply chain lies in identifying, defining, and mitigating core operational challenges. The endto- end optimization of the supply chain provides all stakeholders, be it food and beverage manufacturers, producers, or shipping organizations, with an opportunity to not just reduce costs but also unlock greater efficiencies and manage potential risks. Nobody understands this better than SWARM Engineering—a Software-as-a-Service platform that leverages next-gen cognitive AI to optimize the agri-food supply chain.
“Our ability to help customers effectively define their challenges in a structured and organized way is what makes us unique in the market. You can’t solve a problem if you don’t know what it is,” says Anthony Howcroft, CEO of SWARM Engineering. Drawing upon his rich industry expertise and knowledge of the Microsoft Ecosystem, Howcroft is leading the way for companies to create a positive impact on the environment while reducing waste and increasing sustainability.
SWARM Engineering helps companies resolve challenges pertaining to load planning in logistics, product blending, pricing, inventory demand plans, and network design decisions. Although several niche applications support these functions, they rapidly become legacy tools as problems and algorithms evolve and frequently solve only one siloed issue in the value chain.
SWARM Engineering follows a unique approach to optimize each of the supply chain operations independently and then connect them holistically.
With SWARM, customers can define their problem statements in their own terms. The SWARM Engineering team then collects samples of customer data and runs benchmarks against historical data. The company leverages its multi-agent system to match the solutions from its extensible algorithm library to the defined problems and simulates optimization results.
Customers can define additional constraints, adjust goals, and iterate until they obtain the most favorable results. They can then move the optimization into production. With an underlying Solution Engine, the company plugs in the right algorithms to map out the best solutions. SWARM has emerged as a super-flexible platform, helping customers make problem-solving a core capability of their business.
SWARM Engineering offers the tool as a SaaS platform and facilitates live data feeding into the system by integrating with clients’ IT department. SWARM Engineering does not replace clients’ staff but trains them to use the platform instead of relying on dumb spreadsheets to make high-value decisions. The company also equips users with a cloudbased dashboard to constantly manage data—whether it is about suppliers or delivery crews—simulate results, iterate the process, and make informed business decisions. To ensure that customers derive the maximum value from SWARM, the company runs this containerized application on Microsoft Azure Kubernetes, which is highly reliable, secure, fast, and can scale up or out to support enterprise organizations.
SWARM’S robust capabilities were pivotal to the success of a large agricultural company. Although the client used SAP and other transactional systems, all high-value decisions were made manually using MS Excel. The client’s staff were struggling to cope with complex data pertaining to orders, sales, and suppliers and make the best decisions. After transitioning to the AI-driven SWARM platform, the client could make the right decisions and obtain desired outcomes, resulting in multi-million dollar cost savings.
Our ability to help customers effectively define their challenges in a structured and organized way is what makes us unique in the market
Ever since its inception, SWARM Engineering has been committed to democratizing AI. “AI should be very easy for everybody to use. With this in mind, we offer tools to help everyday planners cut costs and significantly increase profit margins by optimizing their supply chain operations,” notes Howcroft.