Artificial Intelligence: Aussie Supermarket Chain Coles To Use AI For Stock Replenishment

April 26, 2021 | Artificial Intelligence, News

The retail giant has tied up with Finnish tech company Relex Solutions for the purpose.

Fresh produce available when you want it. Lower labor costs. Reduced food waste. Those are the paybacks that Australian retail giant Coles Group (ASX: COL) is aiming for by deploying cloud-based AI technology to replenish fresh produce on its shelves. (AFR)

Coles has inked a deal with RELEX Solutions, a Finnish technology company founded by three supply chain scientists in 2005. Their goal: Perfecting retail operations through the more accurate and efficient use of data. The company’s cloud-native Living Retail Platform optimizes demand forecasting and automatic replenishment processes with a high level of accuracy, then helps retailers turn the improved supply chain visibility into financial benefits.

Coles will use RELEX technology across its approximately 850 supermarkets and seven fresh produce distribution centers. Manual ordering of fresh produce will be replaced by automated replenishment systems. However, the RELEX platform will integrate with Coles’ advanced analytics smarter forecasting solution, an existing system being used by the retailer.

Fresh produce – a very complex supply chain at Coles

“Fresh produce presents many unique challenges compared to other parts of the grocery business – shorter shelf life, seasonality, price elasticity, and the agricultural supply chain,” said Coles’ executive general manager of central operations and transformation, Kevin Gunn.

“Using the RELEX solution to centralize control of the replenishment model allows Coles to provide increased efficiency in one of our most complex supply chains and improve the customer experience through more targeted ranges, improved availability, fresher products, and simpler processes for our team members and our suppliers.”

“The centralized ordering of fresh produce will also help to reduce waste on our existing range and minimize waste on new ranges.”

In 2019, Coles committed to the use of technology as part of its Smarter Selling initiative, which will deliver $1 billion in cumulative cost savings by FY23.

In recent days, RELEX also announced order wins from other retailers such as Kum & Go, M&S Food, and Cost Plus World Market.

Related Story:  AI To Combat Food Waste In Japan                                                 

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