Canadian tech chain creates single, smart demand forecast

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Canada’s largest tech retailer is applying AI to demand planning.

The Source is utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology to boost sales while cutting inventory.

Canada’s largest technology retailer, operating over 300 stores across the country as well as an e-commerce site, recently completed an implementation of the SaaS-based Blue Yonder demand planning platform. The Source is leveraging the Microsoft Azure-based Blue Yonder solution, part of its Luminate planning platform, to better forecast demand for its varied assortment of low-frequency and high-frequency products.

For example, The Source sells low-frequency electronics items such as TVs, trend-based products such as video game consoles, and fast-moving conveniences such as chargers. As a result, forecasting demand for this product wide range is often challenging.

However, since implementing Blue Yonder’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology, The Source can now utilize data-driven forecasting to better plan for current and future demand of these different products.

Specifically, The Source has leveraged Blue Yonder functionality to increase automation in its forecasting process with AI and ML, reduce unproductive inventory in its stores and distribution centers, and mprove promotional sales in its stores.

The Source utilizes the AI and ML capabilities of the Blue Yonder demand planning solution, enabling the retailer to incorporate hundreds of variables that drive demand. In turn, the company is able to achieve a single, unbiased demand forecast that highlights calculated business risk and impact. The Source can then evaluate scenarios and leverage prescriptive recommendations to enable more accurate decisions; from staging the right inventory through the distribution network to minimizing stock-outs while maximizing inventory turns.

British retail giant Marks & Spencer also leverages the cloud-based Blue Yonder Luminate Planning supply chain solutions portfolio across its enterprise. Luminate enables the retailer to consolidate and synchronize demand signals, as well as external variables, across its 1,000 stores. 

As a result, Marks & Spencer can now evaluate demand scenarios and use prescriptive recommendations to make more accurate supply chain decisions, from staging the right inventory through the distribution network to minimizing stock-outs and maximizing inventory turns. The retailer also intends to quickly pivot to consumers’ rapidly changing shopping patterns in order to address demand, particularly across online channels.

“Planning for and forecasting demand can be challenging in the consumer electronics sector, so we are excited by the results we have seen thanks to Blue Yonder’s solution,” said Andaleeb Dobson, VP, merchandising & supply chain, The Source. “The implementation team worked diligently to gather quality data inputs, which resulted in the delivery of a new forecasting process that allows us to better service our customers, while profitably managing our business, both in stores and online.”

“This was the first implementation of our demand planning solution with a consumer electronics retailer and we are proud of the results it has produced for The Source. It shows the power of AI and ML to help companies digitally transform their supply chain planning and demand forecasting to meet changing consumer demands,” said Terry Turner, president, Americas, Blue Yonder.