One Stop drives supply chain changes using AI

Tesco-owned convenience chain One Stop has extended its supply chain partnership with Relex, and plans to further integrate its warehouse and retail operations using the Finnish supplier’s technology.

The retailer expects the move will result in improved forecasting and automatic replenishment for its 900-plus wholly-owned and franchised locations.

One Stop and Relex have worked together since 2010, with the retailer using the tech company’s localised space and assortment planning solution. The next step of the partnership will see One Stop’s four distribution centres integrated on to the same platform, giving stores a chance to improve forecasting and automate replenishment.

The introduction of the supply chain solution will embed machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technology throughout the retailer’s planning processes, joining up traditionally siloed areas of the business.

Early stages of the implementation have already provided a more accurate understanding of supply and demand, according to One Stop, including during the recent challenging period as the coronavirus crisis has prompted a spike in sales.

One Stop’s head of technology, Mark Denton, remarked: “Relex has already proven instrumental in helping us meet the many challenges that accompany exceptional demand.

“The ease of use and flexibility of the Relex system have enabled us to adapt to changing shopping habits.”

Denton said he expects to see “significant improvements across our operations” once the fully-integrated supply chain tech is in place. This will include using machine learning to consider weather forecasts in demand planning.

“The technology will help us drive key improvements, including higher availability and reduced fresh spoilage,” he added.

“Our planners also benefit from the high levels of automation provided by a more advanced, AI-driven retail optimisation technology.”