Almost half of UK grocery retail directors say replenishment is still driven by gut feel, according to research by Blue Yonder, which supplies predictive applications of retail. It said that interviews with 750 grocery managers and directors in the USA, UK, Germany and France, showed that despite a rise in accurate machine learning algorithms for automated replenishment and demand planning, 46 per cent of surveyed directors in the UK say replenishment is still an entirely manual process. Some 85 per cent of respondents identified automation as a key tool for making the fast decisions needed to meet customer demand. The research also identified that 31 per cent of directors in the UK feel there are now too many decisions to be made manually, with the same number stating that gut feel is slowing them down. The research also found that 62 per cent of UK directors say they have invested in replenishment optimisation in the last two years; 31 per cent say they will be investing further in replenishment optimisation in the next two years.
Through collaborative creation with Hitachi, Ltd., Seiyu GK will introduce the Hitachi Digital Solution for Retail/AI Demand Forecast Auto Replenishment Service to stores all over Japan from October 2019 as a system for automatically replenishing based on demand forecasted by AI. The subjects of this service include approximately 250 items produced at Seiyu's central kitchens among the products sold at the deli section. Conventionally, replenishment is implemented by experienced Seiyu associates (employees) in charge for each product based on past sales results and others. In contrast, in this system, AI conducts a high level of demand forecast for each store and product. The replenishment quantity is determined based on the results of the forecast, and thus the system enables automation of replenishing operations.
The task of coordinating hundreds of mobile robots in one of Kiva System's warehouses presents many challenging multi-agent resource allocation problems. The resources include things like inventory, open orders, small shelving units, and the robots themselves. The types of resources can be classified by whether they are consumable, recycled, or scheduled. Further, the global optimization problem can be broken down into more manageable sub-problems, some of which map to (hard) versions of well known computational problems, but with a dynamic, temporal twist.
With machine-learning technology, retailers can address the common--and costly--problem of having too much or too little fresh food in stock. Fresh food, already a fiercely competitive arena in grocery retail, is becoming an even more crowded battleground. Discounters, convenience-store chains, and online players are recognizing the power of fresh-food categories to drive store visits, basket size, and customer loyalty. With fresh products accounting for up to 40 percent of grocers' revenue and one-third of cost of goods sold, getting fresh-food retailing right is more important than ever.1 1.Raphael Buck and Arnaud Minvielle, "A fresh take on food retailing," Perspectives on retail and consumer goods, Winter 2013/14. Fresh food is perishable, demand is highly variable, and lead times are often uncertain.