Prof. Dr. Michael Feindt: TRATON Logistics Leader of the Year 2021
Prof. Dr. Michael Feindt (*1958) is the founder of the software company Blue Yonder, for which he now works as a strategic consultant. The scientist is considered an expert in data-driven software development, the learning of effects through data analysis and the development of new algorithms and tools in Big Data environments. In 2002, he founded a company to transfer his inventions in the field of predictive analytics from science to business. His idea: predictions in pricing and merchandise planning can be improved if they are made with the help of artificial intelligence.
Retail experts recognised the potential of the NeuroBayes algorithm he developed to automate operational decisions in the processes of retail companies. In 2008, managers from the Otto Group and Feindt founded the software company Blue Yonder. JDA Software acquired the company in 2018. In 2020, JDA Software changed its name to Blue Yonder. In 2021, Panasonic acquired the company completely.
|Industry||Transport, Logistics, IT, Science|
|Current position||Strategic Consulter, Blue Yonder|
1958 born on 22 October in Berlin
1978 Studied physics at the University of Hamburg
1988 PhD at the University of Hamburg on data analysis in DESY experiments
1991 Started six years of research work as a scientist at the world's largest nuclear accelerator laboratory at the European Centre for Nuclear Physics CERN in Geneva Experimental detection of B** mesons
1997 Professor of Physics at the University of Karlsruhe
2000 Invention of the NeuroBayes algorithm for predicting future events by learning from samples of past events
2002 Founded the company Phi-T to professionalise NeuroBayes
2008 Founded Blue Yonder to professionalise NeuroBayes
2015 The company received the Gartner Cool Vendor Award and the Experton Big Data Leader Award the following year
2018 Acquisition of Blue Yonder by JDA Software
2020 Renaming of JDA Software to Blue Yonder. Revenue growth to $1 billion with approximately 3,000 customers. Acts as Strategic Advisor for Blue Yonder
2021 Complete acquisition of Blue Yonder by Panasonic
2021 Awarded TRATON Logistics Leader of the Year Award
Physicist Prof. Dr. Michael Feindt proves that science and business are not mutually contradictory. He is considered a leading expert in data-driven software development, the learning of effects through data analyses and the development of new algorithms and tools in Big Data environments. He founded the software company Blue Yonder to transfer his expertise from research to companies, specifically to purchasing and logistics departments.
Even as a physics student in Hamburg, Feindt was fascinated by data analysis. He quickly completed his PhD. Then he dug into research work in Geneva for six years. The researcher experimented in the world's largest nuclear accelerator laboratory at the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN). The word B** mesons appears in his notebooks. He is the first scientist to succeed in experimentally detecting these particles. The eminences of the elementary particle physics world take notice of him. Deciphering huge amounts of data and extracting scientifically relevant information from it is not only his job, but also his passion.
In 1993, long before the word Big Data was on everyone's lips in science and business, the Berlin native trained his first neural network on a computer. To put it simply, algorithms act in a similar way to neurons in the human brain and process information.
His thirst on knowledge drives him to invent an algorithm in the year 2000. It is called NeuroBayes. It is used to predict future events by learning from samples of past events.
Curiosity is Feindt's never-ending fuel. But only the freedom he has as a researcher allows him to focus on his favourite topics. When the conditions at CERN did not match his ideas, he also took the liberty in 1997 to apply for the professorship of Experimental Nuclear Physics at the University of Karlsruhe, now the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). No one in the physics scene was surprised that the top scientist was hired rather than another candidates.
In 2002, the freedom-loving researcher takes a new direction. He ventures out of the ivory tower of science and founds the company Phi-T. His master plan: He wants to professionalise the NeuroBayes algorithm and apply it in companies. Science and business - no contradiction for Feindt. A lot of colleagues shake their heads. In fact, a person like Feindt is an outsider in economics in the 21st century. Statistics show that only about ten percent of all start-ups are founded at a college or university.
In business, too, some managers smile at the professor who is knocking on the top manager´s doors without wearing tie and suit. He is accepted because the top managers have dollar signs in their eyes when they recognise the savings evaluations that his software can achieve, for example, in the area of merchandise planning. They prick up their ears when he talks about machine learning and predictive analytics. But Feindt is not only a courageous entrepreneur, he is also a hard-working one. He has given almost 400 lectures to date. More and more companies are now taking him very seriously. The travelling professor takes the liberty of presenting his algorithmic skills in very different industries - in trade, in banks, in insurance companies. He even cleverly uses artificial intelligence in the stock market. Finally, he gets stuck with the retail chains. The smaller the margins, the greater the willingness to listen to him.
In 2008 Feindt founds Blue Yonder together with the board of the Otto Group. He and his team deal with the prediction of customer decisions. At Otto, they manage to reduce the average delivery times of two million items on the online marketplace by using AI - from five to seven days to two days, sometimes even as little as 24 hours. Managers of other retail chains are also turning to software made in Karlsruhe.
Their motivation is easy to explain: The multitude of expected and mutually influencing factors is not manageable for the best industry professionals. Location factors, days of the week, weather conditions, seasonal influences, discount campaigns by competitors, delivery times and many other factors determine which products are demanded. The crux of the matter: If too little product is stored in the shops, this leads to a loss of sales. If too much is stocked, values have to be written off. Tonnes of food spoil in the supermarkets. Feindt and his team have developed a software that combines more than 200 influencing factors per forecast. The tool is used for pricing as well as for merchandise planning.
The path goes steeply upwards. Over time, Blue Yonder not only gains new customers, but also the private equity specialists Warburg Pincus. In 2018, the SCM software specialist JDA from the USA then acquires the company, and in 2020 JDA is renamed Blue Yonder. The supply chain community looks to Karlsruhe. The success story continues. Panasonic opens the company coffers. In March 2021, the business media are full of the news that the Japanese corporation wants to take over Blue Yonder completely.
So far, its software has made 1000 billion forecasts. Billions more will follow. From a purely financial point of view, Feindt could retire now. But he is happy to continue working as a "strategic advisor" for Blue Yonder in his 20-square-metre office - only without the pressure of having to find customers. In the meantime, the company already has more than 3,000 - and the number is rising.
Gala Reception 2021 Video
Fotos: LHOF/Sebastian Gabsch