Praevisus Case Study


In today’s competitive retail environment, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face the critical challenge of accurately predicting demand for their products and services. The ability to anticipate customer needs not only streamlines inventory management but also enhances pricing strategies and staffing decisions. Recognizing this, Praevisus AI, in partnership with Fair Winds Analytics, initiated a groundbreaking project to leverage machine learning (ML) technologies, aiming to revolutionize demand forecasting and operational efficiency for SMBs operating both online and offline.

This collaborative venture set out to develop advanced ML solutions tailored to the unique needs of SMBs in the retail sector. The goal was to equip these businesses with predictive tools that could offer deep insights into consumer demand patterns, thus enabling smarter, data-driven decision-making. By addressing the complexities of retail data, including seasonality and unpredictable market shifts, the project aimed to provide SMBs with a competitive edge in inventory management, pricing, and staff planning.

The significance of this initiative lies in its focus on practical, actionable intelligence that can directly impact the bottom line of SMBs. Through the use of cutting-edge ML technologies, Praevisus AI and Fair Winds Analytics sought to demystify data analytics, making it accessible and applicable for businesses without the need for extensive technical expertise. This case study will delve into the processes involved in the creation of these ML solutions, their implementation among participating SMBs, and the transformative effects on their operations and strategic planning.


The collaborative initiative between Praevisus AI, Fair Winds Analytics, and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) was strategically designed with the aim of harnessing machine learning (ML) to revolutionize retail operations across a spectrum of technological capabilities. The project was underpinned by a series of objectives, focusing not only on the deployment of advanced analytics but also on ensuring inclusivity for businesses at varying levels of digital maturity. Herein, we define the objectives to reflect the core ambitions of the project:

  • Improve Demand Forecasting Accuracy: Develop ML algorithms capable of delivering precise 30, 60, and 90-day demand forecasts for products and services. This objective aimed to empower SMBs with the ability to anticipate market demands accurately, facilitating smarter inventory and production planning.
  • Identify and Analyze Seasonal Demand Patterns: Implement ML models to uncover and predict seasonal trends in demand on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. The goal was to enable SMBs to align their operational and marketing efforts with these patterns, optimizing their response to consumer trends.
  • Foster a Data-Driven Culture Among SMBs: Encourage the adoption of data-driven decision-making processes within SMBs. By demonstrating the value of ML-driven insights, the project aimed to shift business strategies from intuition-based to evidence-based, enhancing overall efficiency and strategic foresight.
  • Enable Data Integration Across Diverse Technological Platforms: Create a solution that facilitates the connection to both high-tech, real-time APIs and more accessible, low-tech CSV files. This objective was critical in accommodating the wide range of technological capabilities among SMBs, ensuring that businesses of all sizes could leverage the power of ML without the need for significant infrastructural changes.

By realigning the objectives to encompass these key areas, the project set forth a clear and comprehensive roadmap for integrating machine learning into the retail operations of SMBs. These goals underscored the commitment to not only advancing the predictive capabilities of businesses but also to making such advancements accessible to a broader audience, regardless of their current technological infrastructure. Through this initiative, Praevisus AI and Fair Winds Analytics aimed to democratize access to cutting-edge ML tools, paving the way for all SMBs to benefit from enhanced operational insights and data-driven growth strategies.

Solution Development


The initiation of our project with Praevisus AI and Fair Winds Analytics embarked on a journey to decipher the complex data environment of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Delving deep into the diversity of retail data, our team conducted an extensive analysis of SMBs’ data collection practices, scrutinizing the quality and completeness of the data and identifying any challenges that could arise. This thorough examination laid the groundwork for our development of machine learning (ML) models tailored to address the nuances of retail data, specifically focusing on forecasting and seasonality.

To bridge the technological divide among SMBs, we developed parsers for widely accessible data formats like Excel and CSV. This innovation ensured that businesses with less sophisticated data systems could still harness the power of our ML solutions without the necessity for extensive data practice overhauls. While our preferred approach for data capture was through API-connected sources to facilitate continuous, streaming updates, we also acknowledged the need for adaptability. Therefore, we offered alternatives for businesses to provide point-in-time data dumps, catering to a wide spectrum of technical capabilities and allowing all SMBs to benefit from our predictive models.

Our ML solutions were designed with dual functionality to serve the distinct needs of forecasting and understanding seasonality in demand. The forecasting algorithm utilizes advanced time series forecasting methods, including ARIMA (autoregressive integrated moving average) and Seasonal ARIMA, alongside KNN (k-nearest neighbours) for addressing data quality issues, such as missing data from pandemic-related disruptions. These models are adept at predicting 30, 60, and 90-day demand for products and services at various confidence levels.

Conversely, the seasonality algorithm is engineered to predict demand on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis, employing a blend of historical data comparison and seasonal decomposition to identify patterns. This model requires a minimum of one month of data or 100 transactions to generate accurate seasonality predictions.

Empowered by these ML features, SMBs have been able to make substantial improvements in SKU reduction, inventory management, pricing strategies, and staff augmentation. Our approach has not only enhanced the accessibility of ML solutions for SMBs but also underscored our dedication to providing versatile, client-focused tools. By enabling the integration of data through both real-time streams and periodic uploads, we’ve equipped SMBs with the means to navigate the retail landscape with greater precision and strategic foresight, significantly improving their operational efficiency and decision-making processes.

Technology Stack

For the backbone of our solution, we chose Google Cloud Platform (GCP) for its robust and scalable infrastructure, which was ideal for deploying our machine learning models. TensorFlow, an open-source machine learning framework provided by Google, was selected for building and training the predictive models. This combination offered the flexibility and power needed to develop complex algorithms capable of analyzing and forecasting demand patterns accurately.

To ensure seamless integration with SMBs’ existing systems, we developed APIs that could connect to various customer data sources. This approach was designed to minimize disruptions to businesses’ operations while maximizing the utility of the data they already collected. The integration layer was critical in streamlining the flow of data into our models, ensuring that SMBs could leverage their existing digital infrastructure without the need for costly overhauls.


One of the major challenges we faced was the creation of a tool that could automatically align customer data with a structured format suitable for analysis and prediction. The diversity of data formats and the varying levels of data quality across SMBs necessitated a flexible yet precise solution that could normalize the data without losing critical information.

Additionally, building connectors to the APIs of multiple Software as a Service (SaaS) products used by SMBs presented a significant technical hurdle. These connectors were essential for automating the data ingestion process, allowing our machine learning models to access up-to-date information from a variety of sources. The task required a deep understanding of the different SaaS platforms and the ability to navigate their API documentation and limitations effectively.

Incorporating sophisticated machine learning methods such as ARIMA, Seasonal ARIMA, and KNN into our solution presented its own set of challenges. These techniques, while powerful, required meticulous tuning and validation to ensure they could accurately process and analyze the diverse and sometimes incomplete data sets characteristic of SMBs. Balancing the technical demands of these models with the need for user-friendly outputs demanded a deep dive into machine learning theory and practice. Our team had to ensure that the models were not only effective in handling the seasonality and forecasting complexities but also adaptable to the varying data quality and availability found across different SMBs.

Furthermore, addressing the unique challenges posed by missing data due to unforeseen events, such as the pandemic, added another layer of complexity to our project. Developing models that could provide reliable predictions in the face of such data gaps required innovative approaches and a willingness to explore beyond traditional data processing techniques.

The successful integration of these advanced forecasting and seasonality models, alongside our efforts to streamline data normalization and API connectivity, epitomizes our team’s ability to tackle multifaceted challenges. By surmounting these hurdles, we crafted a solution that not only meets the technical and operational needs of SMBs but also empowers them with actionable insights derived from cutting-edge machine learning analysis. This achievement underscores the adaptability and resilience of our approach, enabling SMBs to thrive in a dynamic retail environment through informed decision-making and strategic planning.


The deployment and implementation of our machine learning solutions for Praevisus AI and Fair Winds Analytics’ project were underpinned by modern, efficient technologies and architectural choices that ensured flexibility, scalability, and ease of integration for SMBs. A critical aspect of this phase was our utilization of Docker and automated pipelines, which played a pivotal role in streamlining the deployment process on Google Cloud.


We adopted Docker to containerize the machine learning components of our solution, encapsulating each component in its container. This method provided a highly portable and environment-agnostic way to deploy our ML models, ensuring they could operate seamlessly across different computing environments. By leveraging Docker containers, we were able to maintain consistency in performance and functionality, regardless of the underlying infrastructure.

To automate the build and deployment process, we utilized continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines. These pipelines were configured to auto-build Docker containers whenever changes were made to the ML models or their dependencies. This automation significantly accelerated the deployment process, enabling rapid iteration and deployment of updated models to Google Cloud without manual intervention.

A key architectural decision in this project was the adoption of a microservices architecture, which allowed us to modularize the machine learning components and other parts of the system. This approach provided several benefits:

  • Quick Alterations and Redeployment: The independence of each microservice meant that changes to the ML components could be made and redeployed swiftly, without the risk of disrupting other parts of the system. This agility was crucial for implementing updates or enhancements based on new data insights or evolving business needs.
  • Scalability: By compartmentalizing the system into microservices, we could scale individual components independently based on demand. This capability was particularly valuable for handling varying loads of data processing and prediction requests, ensuring efficient resource utilization across the system.
  • Fault Isolation: The modular nature of microservices architecture also improved the system’s overall robustness. In the event of an issue with a specific ML component, the impact could be contained within that microservice, preventing a cascade of failures throughout the system.

The combination of Docker for containerization, CI/CD pipelines for automation, and a microservices architecture for system design collectively contributed to a smooth and efficient implementation process. This strategic approach not only facilitated the seamless integration of our ML solutions into SMBs’ operations but also laid a strong foundation for continuous improvement and adaptation to future needs. Through this implementation, we ensured that SMBs could harness the power of machine learning to optimize their inventory management, pricing strategies, and staffing, thereby enhancing their competitive edge in the retail market.


The collaboration between Praevisus AI, Fair Winds Analytics, and the participating small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) has culminated in a series of transformative outcomes that underscore the power of machine learning in revolutionizing retail operations. The deployment of our predictive models has yielded significant improvements across various facets of SMB operations, from inventory management to strategic planning. Here, we detail the tangible impacts and successes achieved through this project:

Enhanced Demand Forecasting Accuracy: The implementation of our forecasting ML algorithm, employing methods like ARIMA and Seasonal ARIMA, has markedly improved the accuracy of demand predictions for products and services. SMBs have reported a notable reduction in overstock and stockouts, attributing this success to the precise 30, 60, and 90-day demand forecasts provided by our models. The ability to anticipate market demands with various confidence levels has empowered businesses to make more informed purchasing and production decisions, optimizing their inventory levels and reducing wastage.

Streamlined Inventory and SKU Management: By leveraging the insights generated from both the forecasting and seasonality ML algorithms, SMBs have been able to conduct effective SKU reduction exercises, eliminating underperforming or redundant stock items. This streamlining of inventory has not only cut down on storage costs but also simplified the management of product lines, allowing businesses to focus on high-demand and profitable items.

Dynamic Pricing Strategies: The predictive capabilities of our models have enabled SMBs to adopt dynamic pricing strategies, adjusting prices in response to anticipated demand fluctuations. This approach has led to improved sales margins and increased competitiveness in the market, as businesses can now price their products and services more strategically throughout different seasons and market conditions.

Optimized Staffing and Resource Allocation: With the insights gained from the seasonality predictions, businesses have been able to plan their staffing needs more effectively, aligning personnel resources with expected busy and quiet periods. This optimization has not only enhanced customer service during peak times but also contributed to more efficient use of labor, reducing unnecessary payroll expenses during slower periods.

Positive Feedback and Future Plans

The feedback from SMBs participating in the project has been overwhelmingly positive, with many highlighting the significant impact the ML models have had on their operational efficiency and profitability. Encouraged by these results, businesses are increasingly interested in exploring further applications of machine learning within their operations, signaling a growing recognition of data-driven decision-making as a critical component of modern retail management.

In conclusion, the results of our collaboration with Praevisus AI and Fair Winds Analytics have demonstrated the substantial benefits that machine learning can bring to the retail sector, particularly for SMBs. By providing businesses with the tools to predict demand more accurately, manage inventory efficiently, and plan resources effectively, we have helped them navigate the complexities of the retail landscape, setting a new standard for operational excellence in the industry.