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How Prewave is helping to secure deep supply chains worldwide with AI on Google Cloud

Most businesses know that taking responsibility for their environmental and social impact is key for long-term success. But how can they make fully-informed decisions when most companies only have visibility into their immediate suppliers? At Prewave, we’re driven by the mission to help companies make their entire supply chains more resilient, transparent, and sustainable.

Our end-to-end platform monitors and predicts a wide range of supply chain risks, and AI is the driving-force behind its success. Without AI, handling vast volumes of data and extracting meaningful insights from publicly-available information would be almost unfathomable at the scale that we do to help our clients. Because of that, Prewave needs a rock-solid technology foundation that is reliable, secure, and highly scalable to continually handle this demand. That’s why we built the Prewave supply chain risk intelligence platform on Google Cloud from inception in 2019. 

Back then, as a small team, we didn’t want to have to maintain hardware or infrastructure, and Google Cloud managed services stood out for providing reliability, availability, and security while freeing us up to develop our product and focus on Prewave’s mission. A shared concern for sustainability also influenced our decision, and we’re proud to be working with data centers with such a low carbon footprint.

Tracking hundreds of thousands of suppliers

Prewave’s end-to-end platform solves two key challenges for customers: First, it makes supply chains more resilient by identifying description risks and developing the appropriate mitigation plans. And second, it makes supply chains more sustainable by detecting and solving ESG risks, such as forced labor or environmental issues.

It all starts with our Risk Monitoring capability, which uses AI that was developed by our co-founder Lisa in 2012 during her PhD research. With it, we’re scanning publicly available information in 120+ languages, looking for insights that can indicate early signals of Risk Events for our clients, such as labor unrest, an accident, fire, or 140 other different risk types that can disrupt their supply chain. Based on the resulting insights, clients can take actions on our platform to mitigate the risk, from filing an incident review to arranging an on-site audit.

With this information, Prewave also maps our clients’ supply chains from immediate and sub-tier suppliers down to the raw materials’ providers. Having this level of granularity and transparency is now a requirement of new regulations such as the European corporate sustainability due diligence directive (CSDDD), but it can be challenging for our clients to do without help. They usually have hundreds or thousands of suppliers and our platform helps them to know each one, but also to focus attention, when needed, on those with the highest risk.

The Prewave platform keeps effort on the supplier’s side as light as possible. They only have to act if potential risk is flagged by our Tier-N Monitoring capability, in which case, we support them to fix issues and raise their standards. Additionally, this level of visibility frees them up from having to manually answer hundreds of questionnaires in order to qualify to do business with more partners. 

To make all this possible, our engineering teams rely heavily on scalable technology such as Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) to support our SaaS. We recently switched from Standard to Autopilot and noticed great results in time efficiency now that we don’t need to ensure that node pools are in place or that all CPU power available is being used appropriately, helping save up to 30% of resources. This also has helped us to reduce costs because we only pay for the deployments we run.

We also believe that having the best tools in place is key to delivering the best experience not only to customers but also to our internal teams. So we use Cloud Build and Artifact Registry to experiment, build, and deploy artifacts and manage docker containers that we also use for GKE. Meanwhile, Cloud Armor acts as a firewall protecting us against denial of service and web attacks. 

Because scalability is key for our purposes, the application development and data science teams use Cloud SQL as a database. This is a fully managed service that helps us focus on developing our product, since we don’t have to worry about managing the servers according to demand. Data science teams also use Compute Engine to host our AI implementations as we develop and maintain our own models, and these systems are at the core of Prewave’s daily work.

Helping more businesses improve their deep supply chains 

Since 2020, Prewave has grown from three clients to more than 170, our team of 10 grew to more than 160, and the company’s revenue growth multiplied by 100, achieving a significant milestone. We’ve also since then released many new features to our platform that required us to scale the product alongside scaling the company. With Google Cloud, this wasn’t an issue. We simply extended the resources that the new implementations needed, helping us to gain more visibility at the right time and win new customers. Because our foundation is highly stable and scalable, growing our business has been a smooth ride. 

Next, Prewave is continuing its expansion plans into Europe that began in 2023, before moving to new markets, such as the US. This is going well and our association with Google Cloud is helping us win the trust of early-stage clients who clearly also trust in its reliability and security. We’re confident that our collaboration with Google Cloud will continue to bring us huge benefits as we help more companies internationally to achieve transparency, resilience, sustainability, and legal compliance along their deep supply chains.

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