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New software helps retailers stay ahead of consumer demand

Home Engineering ICT New software helps retailers stay ahead of consumer demand

WITH the global supply chain crisis still raging, the need for agile, accurate demand planning has never been greater.

That’s according to Brian Kilcourse, Managing Partner at Retail Systems Research, who said the pandemic had pushed retailers and consumer goods companies to their limit in terms of anticipating demand.

“There’s still massive pressure,” he said, adding that a new software-as-a-service offering, SAS Cloud for Intelligent Planning, can relieve that pressure by helping retailers and consumer goods manufacturers anticipate shopper needs and shipping disruptions more effectively.

The solution is available now in private preview exclusively on Microsoft Azure. SAS is part of integrating the new Microsoft Cloud for Retail launch, helping businesses build resilient supply chains.

“SAS’ collaboration with Microsoft gives companies needed agility in a use-as-needed delivery model. Now with the benefits of the industry cloud, retailers will get access to more timely data, increasing supply chain transparency.”

Kilcourse said SAS Cloud for Intelligent Planning enables users to employ artificial intelligence (AI) to create self-tuning plans to make sure the right products are in the right place at the right time, as well as stay ahead of consumers with short-term demand sensing that turns consumer insight into action.

It also lets them balance and scale commercial goals across every department in an organisation and
visualise a forecast in the form of spreadsheets, reports and dashboards, on multiple devices, including tablets and smartphones.

“The SAS solution predicts forward-looking demand signals: when, where and how sales will happen. By using comprehensive shopper data, the software recommends balanced, profitable commercial plans across a retailer’s channels and customers. Automated with machine learning, the cloud offering is always up to date to help users remain on top of their business,” Kilcourse said.

Richard Widdowson, SAS Vice President of Global Retail & Consumer Goods Solutions, said SAS can help a retailer realise as much as a five percent revenue improvement because of its agile, short-term forecasting capabilities.

“When put into practical terms, that means better on-shelf availability and a maximum return on investment for your inventory dollars,” Widdowson added. “The solution on Azure will help boost shelf performance by up to 50% and reduce the time it takes to complete a forecast faster than ever before.”

Shelley Bransten, Corporate Vice President, WW Retail & Consumer Goods Industries, Microsoft, said, “Microsoft Cloud for Retail partners provide more integrated solutions to reduce risk across the ecosystem, identify opportunities, and decrease time to market to better serve our customers. Partners such as SAS can drive innovation, extending and enabling the value of the platform to address the most pressing challenges retailers face today.”

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