Hello, Arnaud. Could you give us a brief introduction of yourself?

My name is Arnaud Cadas, and I am 26 years old. I joined the Flowlity research team after completing a PhD in applied mathematics at ENS in Paris.

Today, I work on demand forecasting, machine learning, and inventory optimization.

 

If you had to describe your job in 3 words:

  • Analysis: Often our research work results in a problem to be solved. The aim is then to propose a solution, and this starts with analysis of the available data. We try to understand the problem, model it and propose initial solutions. Then, we test and compare the results to our  expectations.
  • Creativity: We are often presented with problems that have not yet been solved. The work doesn’t just consist of looking for papers or research that already exists. We often have to create and propose new ideas.
  • Development: This involves a little less research but is still an integral part of my daily life at work. At Flowlity, we are responsible for the solutions we create from beginning to end. We develop and code to materialize our ideas, implement them, test them, and even put them into production.

 

What is your typical day like?

It all depends on what we are working on. If we’re in research mode, then I don’t have a typical day. 

But our projects usually go like this:

  • Identify the problem
  • Read the existing literature, either papers on the same or similar topics
  • Try to adapt these different ideas to our current project
  • List and prioritise potential solutions, which may involve mixing several existing concepts and our own ideas
  • Try these solutions one by one and make a shortlist
  • Optimize the shortlist and find the most appropriate solution
  • Develop the solution to make it a reality

Development work is really done day by day. This starts with the stand-up, where we review what we did yesterday and what we want to do today.

We have a list of tickets, and each ticket corresponds to a need, such as an idea or a very precise functionality to be developed or implemented.

As soon as we take a ticket, we become responsible for it. Once the ticket is complete, the code is reviewed by two people. 

Our work is prioritized according to the tickets in progress, those to be reviewed, those to come, etc. It is also punctuated by brainstorming sessions and analyzing customer needs.

 

How do you interact with customers?

I don’t really have direct interaction with the customer, but I am in constant contact with the business teams, who share the customers’ needs and expectations with us.

I like this specific aspect of my work and I hope to have more and more contact with customers in the future.

When you’re doing research, your head is sometimes in the clouds and your mind is full of ideas. This proximity to the customer adds a more pragmatic layer to our work. I don’t look for the most beautiful solution but the simplest, fastest, and most efficient for the customer.

 

Why Flowlity?

The concept was interesting. Inventory optimization is a topic that interests me and is something that I’m already familiar with. 

But more importantly, the team is looking to meet this challenge through innovation. The company isn’t content with just doing better than the competition; It’s fundamentally trying to propose a new approach.

Having already written my own thesis, the fact that the company is research-oriented is a real plus. But our research is also more applied and concrete than my studies. Here I feel useful. 

There are customers and users who are directly affected by my work, so it is important to me today that my work is useful to others.

I also wanted to find a start-up environment, as I like the organization and the working atmosphere. And I have not been left disappointed.

The real plus, which I could not have anticipated before my arrival, is the team! During the onboarding process, I had to spend 15 minutes with everyone to introduce myself. I am rather introverted and it was not easy for me. I was already uncomfortable taking time out of their day.

But everyone was so kind and welcoming. That impressed me and this impression was reinforced over time. I find that there is a very good atmosphere in the Data team and in the company in general.