Regional grocer unifies data management

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Festival Foods is overhauling its data analytics capabilities.

Festival Foods is implementing an ERP platform to support centralized data analytics.

The Wisconsin-based grocery chain has selected the Symphony RetailAI Master Data Management solution. The retailer will use the platform to establish a data foundation to sustain its fast-paced growth before executing on its end-to-end technology roadmap, beginning with Symphony RetailAI Promotions Optimization module.

Festival Foods’ systems have been in place since the Wisconsin-based grocer operated only 10 locations. Now with nearly 40 stores, Festival Foods recognized that it had outgrown its existing technology infrastructure. The company’s initial goal was to run more effective and cost-efficient retail promotions.

However, the retailer recognized it needed a more analytical approach, where it could apply science to promotional decisions instead of only trusting merchandiser intuition, and determined it needed to replace its underlying system before adding new capabilities. Festival Foods knew it could also centralize store-level responsibilities so that store associates could focus more on customer service.

Festival Foods expects Symphony RetailAI Master Data Management to help drive productivity with simplified vendor onboarding and the ability for suppliers to manage their data and collaborate within the shared insights platform. Festival Foods will streamline its data input, with enforced requirements and formatting standards to ensure accuracy and eliminate errors. The grocer will also be able to capture more data attributes than before. 

Another grocery chain, Smart and Final, deployed SymphonyAI technology earlier this year in an effort to obtain a single view of all activities involving its warehouses and distribution centers.

“Our initial goal of improving promotions led us to a broader understanding of the importance of a data foundation,” said Rick Baranczyk, business analytics senior director, Festival Foods. “The confidence in our analytics will drive better decision making and allow us to be nimbler as we grow the business. We’re confident that with this master data management solution in place, we’ll soon be able to optimize our promotional spend to promote the right products at the right time in the right markets. That single version of the truth will also eventually allow us to ensure the best assortments are on the shelf in each market.”

“As we grow, we’re committed to doing so in a way that leverages leading-edge technologies with AI and machine learning, while staying true to our customer-focused culture,” said Jeff Main, VP, IT, Festival Foods. “In fact, culture was our number-one priority and Symphony RetailAI certainly fit that requirement with its roots in grocery. Plus, the breadth of Symphony RetailAI’s offering was exactly what we were looking for, covering everything a grocery retailer needs today. Furthermore, because Symphony RetailAI’s platform is cloud-based, it’s going to eliminate IT management headaches you’d typically have with an on-premise solution. Instead, we’ll have a more reliable system across the board, with less downtime and more confidence in the integrity of our data.”

“A solid data foundation feeds the entire retail value chain, and it is critically important to have in place to support strategic growth,” said Chris Koziol, CEO, Symphony RetailAI. “We know that one of Festival Foods’ driving forces is customer satisfaction and providing an amazing guest experience. With a newfound mastery of its data and resulting downstream system efficiencies, Festival Foods will be able to deliver on that commitment even more than before. We’re excited that the team has invited us to be its partner in continued innovation as we help Festival Foods create an integrated retail value chain that delivers actionable insights across marketing, merchandising and supply chain.”

Festival Foods plans to integrate additional solutions from Symphony RetailAI, including Assortment Optimization, Demand ForecastingAI, Replenishment Planning, and Allocation.