Complete Intelligence

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AI for Supply Chain Forecasting and Proactive Planning

This article originally published at on January 27, 2021. It talks about one of the CFO pain points, which is planning.



How much confidence do you have in traditional price forecasts for the components of your supply chain? Your answer is probably “not much”, if you have been in business for over a decade — or even just during 2020! But AI can do better — much better — at price forecasting than the standard statistical technique of linear regression most of us learned in college.


Complete Intelligence has built a comprehensive platform for making very accurate supply chain ingredient forecasts. The forecasting Saas have done the hard work of aggregating (and cleaning!) billions of data points from many high-quality sources, including import/export trade data, all feeding the AI algorithm engines to produce amazingly accurate predictions. You should follow the postings of Tony Nash , for his economic commentary based on many forecasts for exchange rates, basic commodities, and supply chain components important for world economies and local business operations.


Many companies have antiquated, inaccurate processes for forecasting costs in their supply chain. Their standard statistical forecasting is usually done with linear regression – a straight-line projection of historical costs, into the future. But the price behavior of most commodities is not linear, it is non-linear. Artificial intelligence algorithms are especially suited to making accurate forecasts using non-linear data, which is why they are increasingly applied to dynamic financial forecasting.


Many industries are especially sensitive to supply costs:


  • Manufacturing (electronics, energy equipment, automotive, health supplies, pharmaceuticals, metals, plastics, papers)
  • Extraction operations (oil and gas, forestry, mining)
  • Services (transportation, shipping, hospitality, food and beverage)


Supply chain cost planning is a core process, and AI tools are destined to become key ingredients, deeply embedded in operations.  They enable automation of proactive planning and monitoring to digitally transform the organization. The licensing cost for these financial forecasting tools or financial projection software is a small fraction of the operations cost – and potential savings. It is also worth noting that having reliable forecasts of future price trends can create a rational basis for supplier negotiations. Simplify financial planning with AI and machine learning.


I’m excited about the AI-driven digital transformation of micro-economic forecasting, and would eagerly discuss the benefits with you.


#SupplyChain #AI #EconomicForecasting


QuickHit: Will China Invade Taiwan? (Part 1)

Albert Marko and Christopher Balding are back for another #CageMatch special episode for QuickHit, where the two experts discuss the million dollar question: Will China invade Taiwan? Tony Nash is hosting this episode with Marko and Balding sharing what they think the two countries will do. Does China have the capability (and money) to invade Taiwan? If ever, will Taiwan ever retaliate? Can they afford to go to war? And how will the US fit in all these? Will this be another war waiting to happen?


This China and Taiwan conflict is Part 1 of 2 episodes. Subscribe to our Youtube Channel and signup to the CI Newsletter to be among the first to know when the second part is out.


The China-Taiwan relations was briefly discussed in the first ever #CageMatch episode. Watch the Part 1 here


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📈 Check out the CI Futures platform to forecast currencies, commodities, and equity indices


This QuickHit episode was recorded on January 26, 2021.


The views and opinions expressed in this Chinese invasion of Taiwan QuickHit episode are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Complete Intelligence. Any content provided by our guests are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any political party, religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.


Show Notes


TN: We’ve seen some build up of China’s activity toward Taiwan especially over the last month and we wanted to have a deeper discussion about one of the big questions that is out there which is “Will China invade Taiwan?” and is that a viable likely possibility or is it just saber-rattling to shake things up a little bit. With the new Biden administration and the change over there, there is potentially an opportunity for China to take a more aggressive stance toward Taiwan, the region and, the U.S.


We’re joined by Chris Balding and Albert Marco to talk about this. Let’s go through your basic thesis. Chris, what’s your position China preparing to invade Taiwan? Do you think it’s something that is possible and or likely?


CB: I would put what we think of as a full-scale invasion, where there’s soldiers and rubber rafts storming the beaches of Taiwan. I think that is relatively unlikely as a scenario. But I do think what is much more likely, and I would put it above 50% is some type of escalated conflict either in the East or South China Sea over the next 18 months as distinctly possible.


And when I say that, let me emphasize, we’re talking a range of possibilities. This could be everything from a PLA navy boat ramming a Taiwanese fishing boat. It could mean blowing up a shoal or something like that they’re fighting with Vietnam about. There’s a range of possibilities, but some type of conflict within the next 18 months is distinctly possible.


The reason I say 18 months is Xi will be going up for election of his third term in about 18 months. That is a very important time period. And I guarantee you, Xi and those around him know what basically they’re looking to accomplish within those 18 months. You have a number of complicating factors. It’s not uncommon for Chinese leadership to say: “Hey there’s a changeover in the U.S. Let’s see what we can get away with”. That’s not why they would do it. The timing is fortuitous.


So, I do think some type of escalation in the East and South China over the next 18 months is likely.


TN: Okay. Albert, what do you think?


AM: China likes the poke and they like the prod and they like to test the perimeters of defenses like most nations. When it comes to offensive capabilities, they want to test their adversary’s defensive capabilities.


Do I think that there’s going to be some kind of escalation? Well, I kind of agree with Chris there. Something might happen along those lines. But I don’t think it would be anything very serious. China would need an assurance of a quick and decisive victory if they were to attempt something like that. Obviously, a full-scale invasion is definitely not going to happen.


But even blowing up a shoal or taking out a couple fishing trawlers or whatnot, they certainly don’t want to sit there and affect their shipping lanes. Taiwan straits in that entire region, is the world’s biggest trading lanes for ships. You can’t have the United States running there with an armada just to protect Taiwan. It would adversely affect the Chinese economy. Xi at that point in 18 months, like he’s running up for election like Chris said, he can’t afford any kind of hiccups right now in the Chinese economy. And most of the CCPs elite are ingrained with Taiwanese companies. So, for them to sit there and disrupt that wealth, I just don’t see it happening.


TN: We saw over the last week where the Chinese government said that they can now defend itself in its claimed territorial waters. And with China expanding its claims, whether it’s with India, South China Sea, wherever it is, it seems to me that they’re telegraphing a more aggressive stance. Do we expect that as a warning? That is fairly hollow but they just want to put it out there or is that something that we believe they’ll act on against the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan or something like that. Could we see the claim over, maybe, the Senkaku Islands go hot at some point for some phosphorous hills or whatever?


CB: A lot of this follows a very similar pattern of what we call “salami slicing,” is over the course of a couple years, they just continue to slice away and slice away and slice away, until the last logical step in progression of some type of escalation. That’s a similar type of strategy. That’s part of why I say a full-scale invasion of Taiwan, likely no, I don’t think it is. I generally agree with Albert in that sense that I would put it as a very low probability type of event.


Are there other types of conflicts that may take place? Whether that is Taiwan or Chinese navy and fishing vessels circle islands and stuff like that. Absolutely. I think it’s relatively likely 50 percent over the next 18 months.


There’s been very under-the-radar moves in the sense that within the past year, maybe 18 months, Xi replaced key generals that oversaw the southern and eastern areas, which are very closely tied to Taiwan.


If there’s not some type of conflict, they’ve taken all the move that seemed to indicate signal that yes, they are at the very least they want to stick out their chest a lot more in these areas. And I think probably the one area where I would fundamentally disagree with Albert is that I think he’s perfectly right on “why would China do this this? This could mess up their shipping lanes they’re invested in Taiwan.?” And the reason I disagree is not that I think Albert is wrong. But I think, it’s the wrong type of rationale.


If we look at why is China picking a fight with India in a frozen ground on the Himalayas at 25,000 feet? It makes no sense. I mean there’s little logical reason. They’ve successfully turned India against. They’re kicking out in India. They’re kicking out Chinese apps as fast as they can find them. And they’re looking to start an Indian smartphone market. Very little action is proven has provoked a very large reaction from India. Albert’s rationality, in a way, is perfectly accurate. I don’t think that necessarily captures the reality of what I would call Chinese rationality of the logic that they’re using to make those decisions and the risks they’re willing to take.


TN: If we take the Hong Kong scenario and we talk about the salami slicing that Chris talked about. After the umbrella revolution in 2014, intel I was hearing out of China was that the decision was made in Beijing that Hong Kong would lose its status as a global financial center. And it was just a matter of time, right? And we’ve hit that point effectively. Okay? Hong Kong is not a place where you, unless you want risk, where you’re going to necessarily park your assets. It’s taken five years. They were patient and it seems to me they’re beyond the tipping point. It was that kind of salami-slicing approach to taking away the credibility of Hong Kong, but also injecting the inevitability of Chinese ownership. Is it possible that can happen with Taiwan?


AM: Well, of course, it is certainly possible. There’s no question about that. Do I think it’s possible in the next 18 months? Absolutely, like even Chris agrees. I don’t think that’s going to happen in 18 months.


There’s no Chinese build up militarily for Taiwan invasion. If you were to look at every single military offensive project has logistics involved. There’s just none piling up. The United States would see that in satellite images well in advance.


However, back to the Himalayas, which I think is something we should rather key on. If you want to talk about India’s slicing away stuff, there is a rationale for the Himalayan conflict. It’s the watershed. They need that water and they they’ve been piping that water into agricultural areas in China for years now and they haven’t done too much of it because it’s going to really upset India. You have a billion people in India versus a billion people in China that needs fresh water. It’s going to be a problem. They’ve built mountaintop bases. They have built up a military presence there. That’s where I would actually focus in the next 18 months as a real skirmish.


This Taiwan thing, I completely agree. It’s well within the Chinese game playbook to slice away and just wait for their time. But a Taiwanese invasion would be extremely costly for the Chinese. The risk-reward for the Chinese right now to even think about adventuring into Taiwan would cost them significant military losses, significant economic losses. It would ruin some BRI projects. It would ruin the perception of China as a growing superpower. There’s just so many negatives that I can’t see any real generals in the PLA telling Xi that this is a good idea. Now that’s not to say that Xi won’t do it anyways because…


CB: Tony, let me ask a question. So, Albert, 70 people I’ve talked to say they actually see the military risks increase significantly to Taiwan based upon hardware that’s getting onboarded in the PLA. They see the risks to Taiwan’s increase significantly post about 2022. Okay. Would you share a similar outlook?


AM: You have to understand, when it comes to offensive versus defensive capabilities, the defense always has a clear-cut advantage, right? Offensively, it takes seven dollars per one dollar of defense of offensive spending to actually take over. Now without a doubt, China would win over the long term. But at what cost will the PLA navy take? The Taiwanese defenses are no joke. They’re well equipped to at least hold them off for quite a long time and invading. Even the PLA. The PLA officers, that’s a social structure. That’s a social ladder realistically. How would it look like for Xi if the firstborn son of some of these elite families are coming home in body bags?


Joe Biden’s economic plans


Tony Nash joins Rahul Tandon at the BBC Business Matters podcast and they discussed Joe Biden’s economic plans like the $15 minimum wage and stimulus packages. They also discussed the Covid vaccine supply chain and why some countries are getting them last. Also, what’s the future of Netflix, and lastly, what is Trump’s legacy?


This podcast was published on January 20, 2021 and the original source can be found at


BBC Business Matters Description:


US president-elect Biden sets covid-19 stimulus package as early priority for presidency. As Janet Yellan begins her confirmation hearing as treasury secretary we look ahead at the incoming administration’s economic plans – and we look back at President Donald Trumps four years in office, as he prepares to move out of the White House. Also in the programme amid concerns that people living in poorer countries may have to wait months or years to access a coronavirus vaccine, we find out more from Mesfin Teklu Tessema, head of the health unit at the International Rescue Committee. Plus, Netflix reveal blockbuster results; is it one firm that’s been able to capitalise from the pandemic?



Show Notes



RT: We heard from Joe Biden there before using the word “healing.” Is that going to be what he has to do to heal American society because it’s so divided at the moment?


TN: That’s required. Healing takes place on both sides. A lot of the talk on the Democrat side has been about Republicans retreating rather than Democrats calming down the venom they’ve had toward Trump over the last four years. Healing requires Democrats to dial down their attacks on Republicans as much as Republicans accommodating the new administration. It really is, something that I hope the new administration can tell their own party to to stop the vicious attacks come to you.


RT: Big problems need big solutions. Have you been impressed by what you’ve heard from the Biden administration and Janet Yellen so far?


TN: Really, all I’m hearing is that they’re going to throw money at the problem, which is fine. It’s been months. Americans needed more money from D.C. since July. But I’m not seeing much more sophisticated solution than throwing money at the problem. It’s a start. But I don’t know that we necessarily have a direction.


RT: What sort of what sort of policies would you like to see being put into place by to help?


TN: Policies like this 15 dollar minimum wage, if you’re in New York or San Francisco, great. That’s fantastic. Those are expensive cities. But if you’re in Texas where I live, it doesn’t make sense. It’s great that people get a $15 minimum wage, but we just don’t have the cost of living that New York or San Francisco have. Those types of ideas are fine, but we need more detail around indexing that cost of living or indexing that minimum wage by cost of living.


This is why things like minimum wage has typically been left up to the states. The federal minimum wage is incredibly low because those decisions are usually left out to the states. I feel like we have a lot of promises for more money. And again, that’s great. Americans need that really bad.


I run a small company. The PPP has been long overdue. The House of Representatives held that up for six months. We need it and we’re just finishing our application today. But it’s not enough and it’s not in time.


My biggest worry is corruption. Will that money end up in the hands of people who don’t really need it? Will they end up in the hands of politically well-connected organizations or individuals? We saw that last time around with the PPP.


RT: But there are things that can be put in place to stop that. And there is no doubt that many Americans would need that money. That money needs to be spent on infrastructure.


This is a huge problem, isn’t it? We heard from Fatima in that piece there talking about how a health worker in South Africa may well be inoculated after a healthy person in Germany. That cannot be right. Why have we not been able to put an effective system in place here?


TN: There are two issues here. The first that I find incredibly frustrating is these firms have received huge subsidies to develop these vaccines. They’re effectively already paid for billions of dollars. For these companies getting non-profit prices for this, it’s just unconscionable and it’s just unbelievable.


The other issue, though, is a positive issue. The supply chains are in place and there are abilities for companies to get vaccines, not just to South Africa. Some of the innovations that have happened around vaccine supply chains over the past few years have allowed people to monitor the temperature and the quality of those vaccines through the vaccine supply chain. There’s a company here in my town called Blue Maestro that actually has chipsets that flow with those vaccines themselves so that the people who are getting them don’t have to worry.


RT: Those changes are important, Tony, but still, people would be listening to this and thinking, why will some countries not get it till 2022 or is that just the nature of the world we live in?


TN: I can’t believe it’s the nature of the world we live in. It’s the nature of financing the scale of the build out to the vaccine. But again, these vaccine makers have already received billions of dollars, largely from Western countries, mostly from OECD countries, which is on some level one and the same. But Japan, Singapore, other places have given huge amounts of money. China have given huge amounts of money to vaccine makers. The money is there. The vaccines are paid for. So there should be more allocation to these countries. That’s without a doubt.


RT: Traditional TV for my kids, streaming is actually traditional TV. Do you have Netflix? What are you watching? Are you still watching?


TN: I do. My kids watch it a lot more than I do. What she said about the sports content on Netflix is a real issue for them. Hulu and Amazon have much better offerings there. Netflix is in a weird position where they don’t necessarily have the appeal that a Disney plus has, which has had stellar growth. But they don’t have things like live sports that some of the other guys do.


83% of their subscriber growth came from outside of the U.S. So it tells me that their market in the U.S. only has so much room to grow. There is a global opportunity, and that’s great. But until they can adjust their offerings to include some more compelling content, both for young and for people in their prime who want to watch sports, I think their opportunity is limited in the U.S.


RT: One thing that President Trump said when he was coming into power was he was going to shake up the existing political system. He suddenly done that, hasn’t he?


TN: He has and some of the things that sound obvious, like he’s the first president since the 1970s who has not started a new war, that’s a big deal. It really is a blow to the military industrial complex. And Americans appreciate that. Not starting new wars is a huge benefit for the world, but it’s also a huge benefit for Americans who send their kids overseas to fight these things.


RT: When people like you, economists look back at Donald Trump’s legacy, what’s it going to be in a few years time?


TN: He certainly didn’t fit in in D.C. He was somebody who really fit in more outside of D.C. and that’s what he promised. He brought back more hostages from overseas than any other U.S. president. And so those are the kind of things that really hit the heartland and really hit normal, average American citizens outside of the big major cities of New York and L.A. and D.C. and so on and so forth.


RT: Has he fundamentally changed American society?


TN: What Trump has done is forced people to show their true colors. It’s brought out the worst in people and it’s also brought out the best in people. What’s highlighted in media is often the worst part, but there have been a lot of very positive things that have happened in the U.S. over the last four years.


Breaking from the status quo and the bureaucracy in Washington and in government doesn’t really like that very much. But I think it’s been very positive. There are 74 million people in the U.S., more than half the voting population that actually appreciate Trump. So what the U.S. is fed and what international news media feed people about Trump being an idiot, being a buffoon and all this other stuff, half of the U.S. voting population doesn’t believe that.

Visual (Videos)

Manufacturing 4.0: AI and Automation Strategies For Manufacturers Across Supply Chain

Complete Intelligence joins the AI World Summit 2020 and we had the honor to discuss Manufacturing 4.0: AI and Automation for Manufacturers Across Supply Chain. This event is organized by MyFinB group. This video is a recording of the event.




As global supply chains are becoming more complex amidst the disruptive effects of Covid 19, the room for any inefficiencies becomes a matter of survival. Manufacturers need to maximize productivity and minimize costs by taking on new technologies and processes. Key questions remain how could AI perform demand forecasting production planning and predictive maintenance? How would AI-led tools help plan contingency events? This track reveals the power of AI in transforming the manufacturing landscape and revolutionizing the supply chain management for the next decade.


This session is chaired and moderated by Peter Kua who is based in Malaysia. Peter Kua is the head of data science.
Our EV media group formerly media prima digital. Our esteemed panelists comprise of Tony Nash, CEO and founder of Complete Intelligence. Tan Yet Mee the founder and director of Maypreen Sdn. Bhd. last but not least, we have Dr Ahmad Magad, Executive Director at Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS) former secretary general of Singapore manufacturing federation.


Tony is the CEO and founder of Complete Intelligence. Previously, he built and led the global research business for the economies and the Asia Consulting Business for IAIHS now known as IHS markit. He has also been a social media entrepreneur writer and consultant.


Tony is a public speaker and a leader of a closed-door dialogues with business and government leaders on markets, economics risk and technology. He is a frequent contributor to leading global media like BBC, CNBC and Bloomberg and has served as an advisor to government and Think Tanks in Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing and Washington DC.


Tony is an international advisory board member for Texas A&M University and a non-executive director with credit micro finance bank in Cambodia. He has a master’s degree in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and diplomacy at Tufts University and a BA in a business management from Texas A&M University.


TN: Thank you, Peter. Thanks very much for the opportunity and thanks to MyFinB for asking me to speak today. I really appreciate this. Today, what I’d really like to talk about is how we’re helping companies use Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to better plan their manufacturing businesses, both on the cost side and on the revenue side. We’ll talk a little bit about some case studies. We’ll talk a little bit about kind of what the issues with the status quo, kind of ways of doing this are. And then we’ll talk a little bit about what exactly we’re doing with our products.


So, really what we’re trying to do is help companies become more profitable. We have built an Artificial Intelligence platform to focus on cost and revenue planning.


I started the company in Singapore. I lived in Singapore for 15 years. A few years ago, I moved back to the U.S., we’re now based in Houston, Texas. There’s a lot of oil and gas and manufacturing companies in the Central U.S. and Southeastern U.S. So, we’re really helping those companies here in the U.S.


What we’ve seen as we’ve entered the pandemic or as we’ve gone through the pandemic, we’ve seen a much more focused intention on proactive planning. People have realized that we’re at a very volatile environment. That’s probably not going away anytime soon, of course. We’re not in constant volatility. We have intermittent volatility and the human approach to understanding the future simply seems to in many cases extrapolate, today into kind of forever. We’re using machine learning to better understand how companies can look at costs at a very granular level. And how they can look at their revenue planning at a very granular level. As yet, we mentioned there are not many companies who are prepared for this. In fact, Gartner says 87% of companies aren’t prepared for basic analytics and business intelligence much less artificial intelligence.


So, some of our more recent activities, right now, we’re working with a global chemicals firm. And what we’ve done is we’ve taken data directly from their ERP system. We’ve helped them at a very granular level with their product revenues by geography, by very local geography, understanding what their sales will be by month over a forecast horizon, say 12 to 24 months. We’ve brought their revenue planning error down for that product to 4.4%. So, we’re helping them understand really pretty closely to actual what will happen with their revenue and when it will happen.


We’re also working with an Australian mining firm. They mine copper and gold and silver and a number of other things. We’ve helped them reduce their planning for their gold forecasts by 38%. We’ve done similar activities for copper high 20s. What this helps them do is better plan when to bring their goods to market. Better plan the revenues based upon the volume of say material that comes out of their mining sites and better report their numbers to public markets. So, our chemicals firm client their share price has risen by three times in 2020. Our morning firm client their share price has risen by two times in 2020. So, our clients are seeing some real results from the work that we’re doing for them.


Today there are a number of problems with proactive planning. So, industry forecast. So, industry experts consensus air this is say investment banks economists say industry expert firms who know metals or agriculture goods or something like that. They typically have an error rate of about 20% and this is on an absolute percent basis. So, if you’re buying industry forecasts to understand the price of steel or zinc or you know wheat or something. Those typically have an error rate of 20%, in many cases, it’s more than that. Our clients on the procurement side tell us that even for basic materials, their pricing forecasts are can be say 30% off on an absolute percentage error basis.


So, as proactive planning and finance teams, within companies, as buyers, as strategists look at markets. There really isn’t a precise view of where their costs will go or where revenues will go. And that’s where we come in we have a number of products where we’ve trained our models to understand, how markets will move and how companies can best plan transactions. And plan activities based upon where their revenues will go and where their costs will go. Our off-the-shelf product has about 800 assets across commodities, currencies and equity indices, that we forecast twice a month. We’ve trained our models based upon all of these activities and then as clients come in they typically work within, say the 1400 industry sectors that we have our models trained on.



The other part of the proactive planning process is kind of the spreadsheet aspect of it. We work with major multinational firms and some mid, small, mid-sized multinational firms. There are hundreds or thousands of spreadsheets moving around these organizations with differing approaches, differing conclusions. And what typically happens in planning meetings is there’s really a kind of a verbal agreement, rather than an analytical agreement on how the company will go forward. And we’re really helping companies come to a data-driven conclusion and recommendations around when they should take these transactions. Okay?



So, here’s what we’re doing, we’re taking data directly from clients, we’re working with. We’ve partnered with Microsoft, we’ve partnered with Oracle and others to actually bring our capabilities to market. We use data directly out of a client’s ERP system and other systems. We take it within our environment. We have billions of our own data items and publicly available data items within our environment. And then we deliver the data directly to the client’s context. So, how do they need to make those decisions. What are they looking at and in what context are they looking at those decisions and we just want to fit into their workflow, so that they can plan better? Whether it’s manufacturing. Whether it’s the sales cycle. Whether it’s to optimize working capital and so on.



On the product side our main product right now is called CI Futures. CI Futures is a subscription product where we’re looking at commodities, equities, currency indices. We have a number of clients who layer custom assets into here. Whether it’s say plastics or packaging or we have one client who has us forecasting their sugar costs globally. They’re uh their European confectioner so we take in data from them every month. We help them understand where those prices will be. So, they can not only come up with their procurement strategies but also come up with their hedging strategies for those raw materials.


On the enterprise planning side we have two different services one called CostFlow. CostFlow is a structured bill of material. We show costs from say the business unit level so a chief procurement officer or somebody from FPA or a CFO, can understand where costs are going according to budget across the organization. We solve CFO pain points. We go all the way down to the bill of material which you can see an image of a structured bill of material on the screen and then we go below that to the components and the elements. So, everyone is looking at the same interface not just for historical data and business intelligence. So, that they can see where things are going on a future basis all the way down to the granular level that they’re looking at for procurement on the revenue side.


We look at product sales at different geographies it can be a city level or a country level. We look at it across business units. So that, all of this kind of sums up to a greater whole globally. So, whether it’s a regional business unit or a product business unit. We’re helping people understand how their sales on a month-by-month basis will match up with their costs on a month-by-month basis, both of these activities today we’re um selling and working with clients on uh the user interface and these things will be worked on with in 2021 and we’ll release them early in the first half of 2021.


All of this stuff whether it’s cost flow or RevenueFlow or CI Futures uses the same engine the same cognitive global system to make these decisions and inform our clients for their cost and revenue decisions. So, really what we’re helping people do is do more with less some of our clients. There’s a major manufacturing firm here in the U.S. that has I think 40 people fully dedicated to revenue forecasts. Those people can be used for much more interesting things aside from working in excel spreadsheets all day. On the procurement side there are analysts, there are buyers, there are product people who spend a huge portion of their day in excel spreadsheets and trying to understand cost directions. We’re helping people take those resources focus on the core business and do more with less. We’re helping people increase operating margins and even look at their market cap.


So, these publicly traded companies it doesn’t take much on the savings side and on the revenue delivery side, given equity market multiples for stock prices to rise given the changes that we can help them make. So, we complement a lot of the other physical aspects of the industry 4.0 environment by helping with the proactive planning process months ahead of time. So, thanks very much I really appreciate the time today, Peter.


PK: What does the factory of the future look like to all of you? What about you Tony? What is your take on the factory of the future and how does it look like to you?


TN: I think the one of the first steps of the factory in the future is really is companies really looking at their own data today there are you know data governance is a is a great first step for factories to start to understand how they can better develop, say a machine-driven environment. If you don’t have good data on what you’ve done in the past and how you do things today. It’s going to be very difficult to transition into a next generation factory so I think the factory of tomorrow or the fact of the future really starts today with executives and firms understanding how they capture data how they capture their processes and how they can understand where to automate and understand what those steps are to get there. So, it is of course highly automated but there are a lot of things we do you know we did 20-30 years ago or 50 years ago that we just don’t do today.


So, that’s really it I think it has a lot to do with understanding what we do documenting what we do and checking out the data and making sure we have good data. When we work with customers for their own say cost and revenue data we find that in some cases 30 to 40 percent of the data the historical data that they have is unusable. Meaning it hasn’t been recorded consistently it hasn’t been recorded properly you know those AP people or finance teams or people in operations haven’t really taken the data seriously, it’s an inconvenience and so it makes the starting points of that transition very very difficult. So, I would say executives really need to start today on data governance and documentation to understand where they can go in the future.


PK: How can the industry revolution fall and AI cut across the supply chain and lead to competitive advantage? For example, you know having superior manufacturing capabilities and of course most importantly customer satisfaction. Would you guys, have any success stories to share?


TN: Yeah, okay so when we look at well, we have one uh customer who um using our data better understood the pricing environment for the products that they were bringing to market. And they realized that, gosh they just raised their prices for one of their products by something like 80 percent. So, they’re capturing a lot more revenue of course and margin based upon better understanding the dynamics of their environment and how much revenue they could capture. Their customers are happy and they’re a more profitable company. So, you know that’s one way where by better understanding the environment and automating some of these decisions rather than sticking with the human bias of previous ways of doing things they can actually be more profitable and their customers are just as happy or happier.


PK: What do you think are some of the issues or barriers with respect to realizing IR 4.0 for manufacturers?


TN: I think the main issue that we see is human bias so people are accustomed to doing something a certain way. For example, a company has a vendor that they’ve bought uh raw material x from for five years or ten years or something. Or they you know there are sales processes or sales say expectations that are put together through a negotiating process internally, right? But there are a number of ways that human biases get involved in all business processes. And it really holds companies back.


So, what we’re demonstrating to people is that by cutting out that human bias we can actually help them either optimize decisions or kind of come close to optimizing decisions, rather than relying on you know a vendor you’ve had for a long time. Maybe you rely partly on them and diversify to kind of a better price same quality environment. Something like that, rather than looking at production runs because maybe that’s what you’ve done, you know. You’ve come to that conclusion the same way for the last 10 years.


We’re helping them use machine learning to get around that human bias and better understand. When demand will hit the magnitude with which it will hit, so that they can have the product the right amount of product made at the right time. So, we find that the biggest barrier is human bias and it’s really fear of the machines kind of making mistakes rather than you know phasing things in gradually. People feel are afraid that it has to be some sort of big bang.


PK: What do you think the employee or the future look like to you?


TN: Thank you. I think, what’s been mentioned is right. I think a lot of the redundant activities that you know repetitive activities will be kind of lightened up. I think more of the critical thinking skills and more the collaborative skills will be much more useful. I also think as we have more kind of machine-driven AI driven capabilities within a company more is going to be expected from a company. So, people will have to focus more on the again as I said the business itself rather than the administrative aspects of it or the repetitive aspects of that business. So, we’ll have more sensors we’ll have other things that businesses are required to do just as a service expectation that they may not be doing today. So, I think it’s not necessarily all bad for employees. I think there’s a lot more to do as we have more tech enabled capability.


PK: What do you think the skills pipeline for developing the workforce for the future in manufacturing would look like you know to ensure that our people are ready for the disruption in manufacturing?


TN: That’s a great question. I think I don’t know that people will necessarily have to be more technical meaning the person on the shop floor isn’t necessarily going to have to be able to fix the device. I think they’re just going to have to be more specialized. They’re going to have to understand more specific aspects about their safe span of work but I also think we’ll actually have fewer white-collar workers. So, you have more people actually on the shop floor in the field customer facing so on and so forth and fewer people in the back office. A lot of the back office activity is repetitive and can be automated. So, I think many companies will see less in the back office. We’ll see fewer people with for example basic business degrees, okay? We’ll see more people with really applied degrees so that they can actually do stuff like i said talk to people put things together service people that sort of thing rather than work in software programs.


PK: How do you think Covid 19 has affected manufacturing and whether IRF or AI could have mitigated some of the risk?


TN: I think there are a number of risks that AI could help with first is I think sourcing and supply chains have been really impacted and we’re starting to see more regionalization of sourcing and supply chains. So, helping say supply chain planners, procurement teams, and finance teams understand where they can source in different regions and how that will impact their cost base is one way that could have been impacted. But I also think there are things like digital twins which we don’t do but I’ve seen a number of companies who are doing this. Where they’re monitoring physical spaces so that things like health and safety or operational procedures are being observed. These sorts of things reduce the number of people on a shop floor or in a warehouse and make sure that the companies aren’t missing out on things like safety. So, these types of things can be implemented they’re available today. And I think the pandemic has really opened up the need for it and helped people realize that it’s needed much more quickly.


PK: Great! Thanks Tony. Tony did you want to add something else on the Covid 19 impact on…?


TN: Yeah, Peter, thanks. You know one of the other things that we where we saw a really interesting use for AI is helping people understand the path back to kind of business opening and demand. So, what we saw in say March, April say February, March, April is just panic among manufacturers trying to reconfigure their supply chains but they didn’t really understand how demand would come back. And that’s one way that we really helped them both on the on the revenue side and on the cost side is proactive planning. When would those costs bounce back because there was no demand for a while? And then how would their sales bounce back. We did that extraordinarily well for clients and they were ready and they have been ready as they as demand has come back in different markets without over supplying or without say cutting their workforce too much as things were pretty negative.


PK: Very interesting. Now, let’s talk about the smaller manufacturers or the for the SME’s. Now, I know that Yat Mee has mentioned some of the problems faced by SME’s, when it comes to adopting AI and IR 4.0 but I wanted to really hear from also from both Dr Ahmad and Tony. For example, compared to the larger manufacturer counterpart right what are the specific challenges faced by SME’s when it comes to IR 4.0 and AI adoption. What about you Tony what are the specific AI challenges are faced by our small manufacturers?


TN: Aside from the optimizing working capital, which is which is a big deal for small companies but aside from that hurdle. I think small and mid-sized companies are actually much better placed than large companies because they don’t have a lot of the organizational hurdles and kind of status quo, kind of entrenched status quo activities. So, there’s a huge opportunity for small companies to deploy kind of industry 4.0 and AI assets to scale and to improve their performance. So, of course there’s always fear of course there’s always fear of changing things but I think in general they’re much better place for adoption than larger companies.


PK: Very interesting. Okay so it looks like we only have about three minutes left. So, I would really like to conclude this session with your thoughts of the future. Now, what I want to each probably, I want each of you to look into the look into the crystal ball, like five to ten years ahead and tell me what are one or two things that really excite you about the future of manufacturing and supply chain management?


What about you Tony? I’ll give you the last word.


TN: Great! Wow! Thank you. I think when you look inside out of the factory. I think what we’re looking at with a certain amount of automation. My hope is that it leads to happier employees. I think as they’re doing more interesting work, I think we’ll have a much happier staff base within manufacturing companies. I think from the client side we’ll have much better products and much more consumer choice and I think a lot of it may will be made regionally or locally so the manufactured goods will be more approximate to the consumption markets. And I think that’s better all-around for the environment and for the manufacturers themselves.


PK: Cool! thank you so much and with that we have come to the end of the session. Thank you so much for being part of a very enlightening panel of discussion and obviously the enthusiasm show and the knowledge chat right have really exceeded. I think everyone’s….


Rotating Permanently into Cyclicals

In this Morning Run BFM episode, Tony Nash shares his views where equities are heading now that the 2020 Election has concluded. Will the new administration reverse China policies by Trump? Also, what is the implication to the world exports with a weaker USD and stronger CNY? Lastly on oil: what is its future? Will the rally continue? Does it have enough support?


This podcast first appeared and originally published at on January 7, 2021.


❗️ Check out more of our insights in featured in the CI Newsletter and QuickHit interviews with experts.

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BFM Description


With a blue wave in Georgia, what does this mean for the US economy and equity market? Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence, tells us that the rotational play is now here to stay while giving us his view on oil prices.


Produced by: Mike Gong


Presented by: Lyn Mak, Wong Shou Ning



Show Notes


WSN: Joining us on the line for his take on where markets are headed is Tony Nash, CEO of Complete Intelligence. Equity and currency markets were waiting for the Georgia election results, which have just come out. Given that outcome, where the Democrats have won, where do you see U.S. equities heading?


TN: We don’t see major upside for U.S. equities without significant short-term intervention by the Fed or by some stimulus or infrastructure package. Given where Congress is, I’m not sure that there would be the ability to get much through Congress so it would have to come from the Fed. It’s possible, but we see more the hard assets like gold and commodities. And then you see crypto currencies rising pretty fast as well. But the risk really with equities is to the downside more than to the upside.


WSN: But if we just look at last night’s flows, there was some rotation into cyclicals like banks and small caps with less fund flow into big tech, perhaps over concerns of increased litigation action against them. Do you think this will change into a more long-term kind of rotation?


TN: We’ve expected that for some time. That rotation is long overdue. But the Fed have enabled tech and crypto to have a longer run. That rotation has been put off a bit. So if now is the time, great. We would definitely welcome it. We’re just overexposed in certain sectors.


WSN: And meanwhile, last night, US 10-year treasuries top two percent. What does that tell us?


TN: The U.S. is having a harder time raising money? They need to pay a little bit more to get money. I don’t necessarily think it’s a harbinger of inflation. Although it’s possible with a weaker dollar. I would say higher import prices. Chinese yuan on the run, strengthening. You may have higher import prices, but people have been warning about inflation for years now and we just have not seen it register. I think it just means that that the U.S. Treasury has to pay more to raise money.


WSN: And with Biden coming in on January 20th as the next US president, I would like to see a reversal of Trump’s more adversarial policies with China?


TN: Biden will be very accommodating to China. I think you’ll see different parts of the House and the Senate not be happy about it. But he’ll be absolutely extremely accommodating. More accommodating than Obama was.


WSN: What impact do you think that might have on the U.S. economy? Because in the past there was some shift into more U.S. based manufacturing. Will that then reverse?


TN: With the USMCA, the NAFTA number two agreement, I think there’s more incentive for companies to have facilities in the NAFTA zone. China obviously is more expensive and with an appreciating CNY, that makes it more difficult to invest while you get less for your money in China. China is becoming an increasingly hard sell. That has been the case since 2017, 2018. It’s not going to turn back. Until there is a reciprocal and enforceable investment agreement in place with China, I think China is where it is. I don’t think you would see a mad rush of direct investment going to China.


WSN: What are your views in terms of where the U.S. dollar is hitting? Because you just mentioned that the Yen is likely to appreciate?


TN: It already has. The Chinese officials are becoming a little bit nervous about how strong CNY has become because it’ll put a real damper on their their ability to export. You have the Euro versus CNY weakening. You have the Dollar versus CNY weakening. It’s coming to a point where it could be somewhat problematic for China. So they will push to weaken their currency, maybe not immediately, but say in first quarter. As you see more stability, post Brexit with the new normal Europe. As you see more stability in the US with the new administration, I think you’ll see a bit of relative strengthening of those two currencies versus CNY.


WSN: And shifting our attention to one of the commodities: oil. Yesterday, Saudi Arabia’s cutting oil output while Russia is increasing theirs. What’s the rationale for this? And OPEC members then divide it on production quotas?


TN: OPEC members may verbally agree to things. Whether or not they comply with that has been a burden for OPEC for decades. So what they all want is more volume export and the prices is the real issue.


So I think there’s an intention to present mixed messages so that there’s uncertainty in the market so that we see Brent price that’s sustainably above 50 dollars. That is is good for OPEC. That’s good for some of the producers like Malaysia and Texas where I live. I think consumers, we don’t necessarily to expect to see a sustainably strong oil price because we don’t necessarily expect to see a dramatic recovery in 2021. But we don’t expect to see a dramatic recovery that would spike oil prices up to 70, 80 dollars.


WSN: Do you expect oil prices to be where it is, which is currently around 50 U.S. dollars per barrel for WTI?


TN: For six plus months, we’ve expected a spike in January. And we’ve been telling people since July, August that we would see a spike in oil prices in January. And this is exactly what our artificial intelligence platform has told us for quite a long time. So we’re seeing what we’ve expected. We’ve also expected a fall going into February. Like I said, this is great. This is very much in line with what we thought would happen. But we expect there to be some downside to this and downward pressure within the next 30 to 60 days.


WSN: All right. Thank you for your time. That was Tony Nesh, CEO of Complete Intelligence, giving us his views on where markets are heading. And it seems like it’s not surprising that there’s a bit of a market correction or at least a market rotational flow out of tech, which valuations have kind of hit all time high and some rotation into the cyclicals like banks and small caps. But I think his views on oil are pretty interesting that it’s you know, we are going to see maybe a bit of downside from here.


What will he take? Reasoning?


LM: I think his comments about particularly what we can expect out of a Biden administration were quite interesting because commentators now kind of are kind of split over how they believe Joe Biden will kind of stack up compared to Barack Obama once he is inaugurated as president of the U.S. And the idea of Joe Biden being more accommodating than Obama, particularly with Trump also still continuing his crackdowns on China. It’s almost enough to give you whiplash, isn’t it? Because once January 20 is rolls around, how much of Trump’s measures will be rolled back?


I mean, only recently he’s just signed an executive order as well, banning several Chinese payment apps over security concerns. So this affects eight payment apps and it’s supposed to take an IT take effect in 45 days after Trump has left office.


WSN: Yeah, and what’s interesting is these eight p.m. apps are very well known to include the likes of ADP, Tencent, Cucu and even WeChat P now in the executive order, said that these apps captures swaths of information, including sensitive, personally identifiable information and private information. Now, how much of this an impact will have is unclear, since it’s understood that the usage of these apps outside of China remains limited. For example, the ALP has roughly one billion users, but they are mostly in China.


However, it does have deals with merchants in the U.S. such as Walgreens, and claims to work with more than two hundred and fifty overseas partners. Now, separately, the New York Stock Exchange has made another U-turn on its earlier U-turn to delist three Chinese telecom companies, which be. Going round and round and round, yeah, it’s like a mini roundabout now, so and these three companies are China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom.


LM: So the NYSE first announced that it would delist the companies on New Year’s Eve before changing course four days later. And the delisting complies with Trump’s executive order banning investment in Chinese companies with purported ties to the military. So the exchange said its latest decision is based on new specific guidance received on Tuesday provided by the Treasury Department. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin reportedly called the NYSE president, Stacie Cunningham, to voice his displeasure with the decision to allow these three companies to remain on the big board.


WSN: Well, I think this story will just get the plot will get thicker and thicker, and whether the roundabout will get bigger and bigger, we’ll just have to find out. But up next, we ask the question, what can you do to attract more foreign direct investment for us? Ross, the senior economist with Mark, will be joining us for that discussion. Stay tuned for that BFM eighty nine point nine.


News Articles Uncategorized

Startup makes superforecasting possible with AI

This article originally published at on December 1, 2020.



Here’s a mathematical problem: The sum of all the individual country GDPs never equals the global GDP. That means forecasting models are flawed from the start, and it’s impacting global supply chain economics in a big way. Entrepreneur Tony Nash found that unacceptable, so he built an AI platform to help businesses “understand the sum of everything” through a highly automated, globally data-intensive solution with zero human bias.


Complete Intelligence, Nash’s Houston-based startup, uses global market data and artificial intelligence to help organizations to visualize financial data, make predictions, adjust plans in the context of a global economy, all on the fly. The globally-integrated, cloud-based AI platform helps purchasing, supply chain planning, and revenue teams make smarter cost and revenue decisions. It’s a way on how to make better business decisions.


“The machines are learning, and many times that has meant deviating from traditionally held consensus beliefs and causality models,” said Nash. “Causal beliefs don’t hold up most of the time—it’s human bias that is holding them up—our AI data is reducing errors and getting closer to the truth, closer to the promise of superforecasting.”



Massive datasets across 1,400 industry sectors

More than 15 billion data points run through the Complete Intelligence platform daily, making hundreds of millions of calculations. Average business forecasting saas software models use 10-12 sector variables. Complete Intelligence, on the other hand, examines variables across 1,400 industry sectors. The robustness gives businesses insights and control they didn’t have before.


“We’ve seen a big shift in how category managers and planning managers are looking at their supply chains,” said Nash. “Companies are taking a closer look at the concentration of supply chains by every variable. Our platform helps companies easily visualize the outlook for their supply chain costs, and helps them pivot quickly.”



Superforecasting brings a modern mindset to an old industry


Australia-based OZ Minerals, a publicly-traded company, is a modern mining company focused on copper with mines in Australia and Brazil. OZ says their modern mantra is more than technology, it’s also a mindset: test, learn, innovate. They wanted to better navigate and understand the multi-faceted copper market, where the connectivity between miner, smelter, product maker, and consumer is incredibly complex and dynamic. They turned to Complete Intelligence.


“I need a firm understanding of both fiscal and monetary policies and foreign exchange rates to understand how commodity prices might react in the future because a depreciating and/or appreciating currency can impact the trade flows, and often very quickly, which might influence decisions we make,” said Luke McFadyen, Manager of Strategy and Economics at OZ Minerals.


“Our copper concentrate produced in Australia and Brazil may end up being refined locally or overseas. And then it is turned into a metal, which then may be turned into a wire or rod, and then used in an electric vehicle sold in New York, an air conditioner sold in Johannesburg, or used in the motor of a wind turbine in Denmark,” he explains. “The copper market is an incredibly complex system.”


With Complete Intelligence, McFadyen has a new opportunity to test for a bigger-picture understanding and responsiveness. Previously, he updated his models every few months. Now he could do it every 47 minutes if he needed to.


McFadyen points to the impact of COVID-19 as a “Black Swan” event that no business forecasting saas software could have predicted, but is nonetheless impacting currencies, foreign exchanges, and cost curves throughout global copper market and supply chains.


“If your model isn’t dynamic and responsive in events like we are experiencing today, then it is not insightful. If it’s not insightful, it’s not influencing and informing decisions,” he said. “Complete Intelligence provides a different insight compared to how the traditional price and foreign exchange models work.”


McFadyen says early results have reflected reductions in error rates and improved responsiveness.



Cloud power and partnership


Complete Intelligence needed a strong technology partner but also one with global expertise in enterprise sales and marketing that could help boost their business. They found it with Oracle for Startups.


“We have lots of concurrent and parallel processes with very large data volumes,” said Nash. “We are checking historical data against thousands of variables, anomaly detections, massive calculations processing, and storage. And it’s all optimized with Oracle Cloud.”


Nash, who migrated off Google Cloud, says Oracle Cloud gives him the confidence that his solution can handle these workloads and data sets without downtime or performance lapses. The partnership also gives him a credible technology that is native to many clients.


“As we have potential clients that come to us that are using Oracle, having our software on Oracle Cloud infrastructure will make it easier for us to deploy and scale. A seamless client experience is a critical success factor for us.”


Nash says the Oracle startup program‘s free cloud credits and 70% discount has allowed them to save costs while increasing value to customers. He also takes advantage of the program’s resources including introductions to customers and marketing and PR support.


“We’ve been impressed by the resources and dedication of Oracle for Startups team,” he said. “I’d recommend it, especially for AI and data startups ready for global scale.”



Beyond mining: superforecasting futures with AI


Beyond mining, Complete Intelligence is working with customers in oil and gas, chemicals, electronics, food and beverages, and industrial manufacturing. From packaging to polymers and sugar to sensors, these customers use Complete Intelligence for cost and revenue planning, purchasing and supply chain proactive planning, risk management, and auditing teams, as well as general market and economic forecasts.


The error rates for Complete Intelligence forecasts in energy and industrial metals performed 9.4% better than consensus forecasts over the same period, and Complete Intelligence continues to add methods to better account for market shocks and volatility.


OZ Minerals’ McFadyen said, “This is the next step in how economists can work in the future with change leading towards better forecasts, which will inform better decisions.”


Nash and Complete Intelligence are betting on it – and building for the future.