Starter of the week: The Grain organizes production planning using AI

It is on the basis of artificial intelligence that The Grain intends to help the manufacturing industry in terms of production planning and more. The SaaS solution developed by the Antwerp start-up should now also establish itself internationally.

They turned to data science from the perspective of a true industrialist. Because they knew the problems all too well, having had thirty years of experience in, say, maintaining a production line. So that’s how Dirk De Nutte and his three partners – each of whom can boast of having solid experience acquired either at Allied Reliability (maintenance & reliability) or at Provider (AI development) – embarked on the creation of a new start-up. -up: The Grain.

Maintain an overview

The goal? Help companies to manage, by means of AI, production planning, but also demand forecasting, process optimization and maintenance forecasting.

At first, The Grain got there by offering consultancy, but the coronavirus changed that. ‘Since then, we have decided to bet on a SaaS tool’, explains De Nutte. ‘This tool aims to help companies active in the manufacturing sector to improve their planning and maintain an overview.’ The Grain acts to this end on three levels: ‘Not only on the pure production level, but also on the sales & operations level, as well as on the strategy level, where the planning (‘scheduling’) is carried out a year in advance. All in all, it’s a bunch of interoperable settings, and that’s where AI comes in. We also rely on the interaction between technology and the user, who can also provide information to the system.’

It was on the basis of a mature solution and a proof of concept ready for the market that The Grain embarked on commercialization a year ago. ‘The processing time is relatively long in the industrial sector, which meant that we only received the first prospects after nine months. However, our system is already fully operational in the six factories of a French manufacturer of luxury bottles. He was our first customer, and it was his feedback that helped us with development. We hope to conclude a few new contracts in January with customers where a pilot project has been running for some time.’

Scalable enough

So far, The Grain has sought customers mostly through its own network. ‘We created a website capable of attracting customers, which generated quite a few contacts’, explains the CEO. ‘But for further marketing, we are now thinking above all of partnerships with specialist service firms with a view to integrating our solution into their range. And in this way we absolutely want to go beyond national limits. This is how our tool is already used in the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and France. It is sufficiently scalable both quantitatively and regionally.’

To achieve the objective set, De Nutte intends to organize a first capitalization phase next summer. ‘Currently, we have achieved everything from a combination of own resources, an investment loan from KBC and a VLAIO subsidy of 335,000 euros,’ he says. ‘Depending on the type of construction envisaged for new investors, we will be looking for between one and three million euros.’

The Grain

Headquarters: Antwerp

Number of associates: 4

Finances: capitalization phase during the summer of 2023.

Website: TheGrain.pro

They turned to data science from the perspective of a true industrialist. Because they knew the problems all too well, having had thirty years of experience in, say, maintaining a production line. So that’s how Dirk De Nutte and his three partners – each of whom can boast of having solid experience acquired either at Allied Reliability (maintenance & reliability) or at Provider (AI development) – embarked on the creation of a new start-up. -up: The Grain. The goal? Help companies to manage, by means of AI, production planning, but also demand forecasting, process optimization and maintenance forecasting. , The Grain got there by offering consultancy, but the coronavirus changed that. ‘Since then, we have decided to bet on a SaaS tool’, explains De Nutte. ‘This tool aims to help companies active in the manufacturing sector to improve their planning and maintain an overview.’ The Grain acts to this end on three levels: ‘Not only on the pure production level, but also on the sales & operations level, as well as on the strategy level, where the planning (‘scheduling’) is carried out a year in advance. All in all, it’s a bunch of interoperable settings, and that’s where AI comes in. We are also betting on the interaction between technology and the user, who can also provide information to the system.’ This is based on a mature solution and a proof of concept ready for the market. that The Grain started marketing a year ago. ‘The processing time is relatively long in the industrial sector, which meant that we only received the first prospects after nine months. However, our system is already fully operational in the six factories of a French manufacturer of luxury bottles. He was our first customer, and it was his feedback that helped us with development. We hope to secure a few new contracts in January with customers where a pilot project has been running for some time.’ So far, The Grain has been looking for customers mainly through its own network. ‘We created a website capable of attracting customers, which generated quite a few contacts’, explains the CEO. ‘But for further marketing, we are now thinking above all of partnerships with specialist service firms with a view to integrating our solution into their range. And in this way we absolutely want to go beyond national limits. This is how our tool is already used in the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and France. It is sufficiently scalable both quantitatively and regionally. To achieve the objective set, De Nutte intends to organize a first phase of capitalization next summer. ‘Currently, we have achieved everything from a combination of own resources, an investment loan from KBC and a VLAIO subsidy of 335,000 euros,’ he says. ‘Depending on the type of construction envisaged for new investors, we will be looking for between one and three million euros.’

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Starter of the week: The Grain organizes production planning using AI


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