Morrisons and technology partner Blue Yonder have revealed details of an automated ordering system that has helped reduce shelf gaps at the supermarket by up to 30%.
Morrisons linked up with artificial intelligence and machine learning applications provider Blue Yonder with the aim of optimising replenishment and automating the ordering of 26,000 ambient and long-life product SKUs in all its 491 stores.
The Blue Yonder Replenishment Optimisation technology started rolling out in Morrisons stores last summer. It automatically analyses sales data and other data sources from Morrisons and combines this with external data such as weather forecasts and public holidays. Through the automated analysis of data, the system can predict the level of demand down to the individual product and store location. Blue Yonder’s technology then fully automates ordering per store and per product.
Using machine learning technology, Blue Yonder claims the system learns as it goes and can use a vast and complex amount of data to make highly accurate ordering decisions.
It says that benefits of the system are multiple: Employees no longer need to spend time manually ordering goods, which frees up their time for other tasks, such as attending to customers and; with improved in-store availability, customer satisfaction improves.
The system now covers all Morrisons 491 stores, automating over 13 million ordering decisions per day and helping reduce shelf gaps by up to 30%.
In Morrisons’ preliminary year end results released earlier this month, Morrisons’ Chief Executive David Potts said: “Our biggest new initiative has been our new automated ordering system. The system is capital light, utilising cloud technology and store-specific historic sales data to forecast stock requirements. It is reducing costs and stock levels, while also saving time for colleagues, and providing a better offer for customers.”
Markus Juhr-De Benedetti, Chief Revenue Officer of Blue Yonder, commented: “We are delighted to have supported Morrisons in improving their product availability and therefore better serving their customers. The retail landscape is changing faster today than ever before – Blue Yonder’s mission is to provide a competitive advantage to retailers through Machine Learning. Every day, Blue Yonder delivers 600 million decisions to its customers that boost revenues, increase margins and enable rapid responses to changing market dynamics.”