Solving Grocers Inventory Woes: 6 Cutting Edge Companies
At a Glance
- 71% retailers cite real-time inventory call-outs as a significant hurdle to successful inventory management.
- Grocers of the future adopt AI-powered inventory solutions to tackle real-time shelf visibility and stock-out challenges.
- The bottom line is forecasting accurate consumer preferences and boosting revenue.
- Uncover four companies transforming innovation in grocery inventory.
Next-gen artificial intelligence enables grocers to reimagine their inventory to match consumer preferences. Technology is driving the future store roadmap with smart shelves, hybrid clouds, big data analytics, and in-store robotics turning just-in-time inventory from a concept to a reality. As grocers adopt AI and machine learning inventory solutions, the ability to leverage these technologies to reimagine the customer experience will determine which grocers lead and which follow.
In a previous article in this series, Grocery AI: Exploring the Evolution of Inventory Management, we highlighted some of the challenges grocers face in inventory management and explored potential solutions such as shelf scanning, automation, and AI-empowered computer vision.
This article examines the Doppio Disruptors tactically leading the AI/ML charge and helping grocers solve their inventory woes.
Shelf Engine - The Seattle-based tech company utilizes machine learning to forecast demand for highly perishable goods, reducing out-of-stock and optimizing availability. By analyzing sales data, the company considers granular-level information like school holidays, weather predictions, and local events to create probabilistic models for each product daily. These create profit maximization models using time series models with machine learning and submit the store's orders to vendors. Founded in 2015 by Stefan Kalb, the company also offers Results-as-a-Service (RaaS), a business model based on achieving results rather than a fixed monthly fee. Following the model, the company's incentives are aligned with those of its retail customers, leading to a faster deployment of technology.
Relex Solutions - The company founded in 2005 by award-winning supply chain executive Mikko Kärkkäinen is helping retailers through its inventory optimization platform. The platform utilizes predictive, allocation, and automatic replenishment software, offering a range of solutions, such as an extensive library of sales data and demand analysis. ML-based forecasting considers local events, school holidays, and weather predictions. Additionally, it offers assortment and seasonal management to forecast new product demand and pre-season orders. Pioneering innovative solutions over the last two decades, the company has provided solutions for Sprouts Farmers Market, PetSmart, and Dollar Tree.
Pensa Systems - Spearheading a new way for retailers to manage their shelf inventory, the Texas-based company leverages patented advanced computer vision and artificial intelligence to re-envision how retailers think about shelf inventory. Launched in 2016 by Jason Reneau, Jim Dutton, Joel Iventosch, Pinar Kaprali, Richard Schwartz, and Sean D. Matthews, the company offers data as a service portfolio providing real-time visibility of store shelves to optimize production planning and minimize stockouts, improving customer satisfaction and ultimately boosting revenues. Pensa has collaborated with several leading companies, including Lunds & Byerlys, Circle K, AB InBev, General Mills, and Unilever providing critical insights and data-driven solutions to optimize their inventory management solutions.
Afresh - The AI-powered technological company provides solutions for grocers by leveraging deep learning to make smarter decisions to improve a grocer's bottom line. Their flagship product, the Fresh Operating System, optimizes orders and sales forecasting, improving store operations and providing customers access to the freshest products. Store managers can make informed decisions about optimum inventory levels by utilizing the company's real-time analytics and shopper behavior data. Afresh has formed valuable partnerships with grocers, including Albertsons, Heinen's, Bashas', and Save Mart Supermarkets providing critical insights into predicting consumer demand and revolutionizing the fresh food supply chain.
In conclusion, the rapidly evolving industry demands that grocers modernize their inventory solutions to be sustainable in this fast-paced retail environment. Grocers must embrace advancements in technology, such as artificial intelligence, computer vision, and real-time analytics, to optimize inventory and reposition themselves to thrive in the ultra-competitive landscape.