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05/11/2021

Marks & Spencer fulfills smart demand planning upgrade

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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A British retail giant is obtaining a more accurate view into demand with artificial intelligence (AI).

Marks & Spencer has finished rolling out the Blue Yonder Luminate Planning supply chain solutions portfolio across its enterprise. Built on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, 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.

The retailer began a next-generation supply chain technology partnership with Blue Yonder (then known as JDA Software) and IT services/solutions provider Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in February 2019 https://chainstoreage.com/operations/british-retail-giant-eyes-smarter-supply-chain. Combining cloud, AI and machine learning capabilities, the implementation is designed to deliver complete supply chain visibility and real-time prescriptive recommendations for business decisions.

TCS led the overall program delivery and implemented data and integration patterns. The firm also supported the enhancement of Microsoft Power BI business analytics reports to Marks & Spencer business key performance indicators (KPIs) to enhance visibility on its business performance.

“As part of our fast-moving ‘Never the Same Again’ program, we’re re-engineering our clothing & home supply chain, this means ensuring our market-leading demand platform remains up to date. We’ve worked collaboratively with Blue Yonder, our long-time supply chain provider, and other partners to digitally transform from on-premises to cloud-based architecture,” said Matt Horwood, CTO, Marks & Spencer Clothing & Home. “The ability to access new Luminate Planning capabilities will help us increase the speed of our supply chain to be more agile, with a strong, modern, supply chain platform foundation – ultimately better serving our customer online and in-store.”