I wanted to hear your thoughts on doing machine learning projects for a client. It is related to the topics of supply chain management and demand forecasting.
My friend’s father owns a local food and beverage business, and he asked me to build an “AI system” that automatically predicts the needed inventory each day for products at different stores. This system would basically eliminate the need to rely on individual store manager predictions and help reduce waste.
I told my friend that I suspect it is possible but I would need to investigate since I am just a fresh grad and while I had experience with ML/AI as an electrical and computer engineering graduate, I didn’t have much exposure to time series forecasting.
So this is my first job/paid project and I know it’s a huge responsibility, and I don’t want to go into it being naive. For now, I am viewing it as an ML consulting job where I do some precursory research and then spend the next several months developing a solution.
I still need to figure some things out before I commit to the project. For example:
What should the timeline look like? They suggested 6 to 11 months.
How much should the project cost? They suggested paying me $1500 a month for the duration of the project. They are open to paying me on a per-project basis with an initial downpayment and a final payment upon completion. I know starting salaries for data scientists and ML engineers in general are way higher than this.
Should I look into hiring people to work with me? They are open to bringing in 1-2 more people to help build the system.
Overall, I would like to know your thoughts since this whole thing is new to me. I have many reservations about doing this project yet the people who brought me in expect me to give guarantees on the project. They also have only one year of sales data and half of it is “messy” because of COVID-19. What do you think? What would you do if you were in my place?
TL;DR: I was asked to build a demand forecasting system as a fresh grad and need help figuring out what the project will take and how much it should cost.