AI helps Coles replenish fresh producer

Initiative forms part of Coles’ Easy Ordering program.

One of Australia’s leading retailers Coles will optimise its end-to-end supply chain planning for fresh produce categories as well as their long-term inventory planning capabilities.

The supermarket giant has chosen Finnish company, Relex Solutions to provide it with the RELEX Living Retail Platform, will optimise Coles’ replenishment for fresh produce, utilising AI and high scale computation power. The solution also automates replenishment processes, giving planners time to focus on more critical and strategic tasks, said Roger Sniezek CIO at Coles.

Coles had selected Relex as its next-generation replenishment technology to deliver benefits across the Coles Group, including great value for customers, while reducing the amount of manual work undertaken by team members.

“Relex is a modern, automated, cloud-based replenishment solution provider to a number of leading grocers across Europe and the US. It represents a best-in-class technology solution that will deliver another major component of our technology-led strategy,” said Sniezek. “The initiative forms part of Coles’ Easy Ordering program, which is a critical project in delivering on our Smarter Selling strategy.”

Sniezek noted the new replenishment platform will integrate with Coles’ existing in-house advanced analytics smarter forecasting solution, which has already been rolled out to other non-fresh categories.

“This will enable an improved customer offer by not only taking into account past purchases, but   also factoring weather and local community events into the forecasting algorithms,” he said.

The Relex solution will service the retailer’s 850 nation-wide supermarkets and its seven fresh produce distribution centres, driving better customer service, reduced food waste, and improved supplier collaboration.

Kevin Gunn executive general manager central operations and transformation at Coles said the journey of centralising its replenishment model started about ten years ago.

“Fresh produce presents many unique challenges compared to other parts of the grocery business: shorter shelf life, seasonality, price elasticity, along with the diverse and complex growing seasons and regions we are challenged with in Australia,” he said. “Using the Relex solution to centralise the control of the replenishment model will help to reduce waste on our existing range and minimise waste on new ranges, which is important to us as Coles aims to become Australia’s most sustainable supermarket.”





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