This week’s Ask the Expert is answered by Prof. Dr. Michael Feindt. Dr. Feindt is the brain behind Blue Yonder. His NeuroBayes algorithm was developed during his many years of scientific research at CERN. Michael is also a professor at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany, and a lecturer at the Data Science Academy.
Ask the Expert: AI has been used in grocery stores in aiding with replenishment decisions. How effective has this process been and what are its main advantages?
AI has been immensely successful in aiding replenishment in the grocery sector. One of the main advantages of using AI to optimise grocery replenishment is that it can analyse vast quantities of data to predict customer demand. This can include a retailer’s own data, such as past sales patterns, customer footfall and promotions, as well as external factors such as the weather, events like football matches and even popular TV programmes like the Great British Bake Off, which might affect the demand of certain products. This produces much more accurate and granular forecasts of replenishment, enabling retailers to minimise waste, reduce shelf gaps and ensure that they always have the products on the shelves that their customers want.
The other major benefit of using AI to optimise the replenishment process is that advanced AI solutions have the capability not just to recommend a replenishment strategy, but to carry out decision-making. An AI replenishment solution can entirely automate the entire replenishment process, from analysing the potential customer demand to ordering the right amount of stock. For an average grocery chain this easily are 20,000,000 decisions per day. – was too many to be optimally handled by humans. This can enable retailers to devote more of their staffing resources to doing what humans do best – providing an exceptional, bespoke and personalised customer service.