Save A Lot is overhauling its planning environment.
As part of a broader shift to a wholesale operating model, Save A Lot is implementing innovative planning systems and strategies.
In a session at the recent Blue Yonder ICON 2023 conference, Stephanie Blackshear, senior manager, store design & planning, Save A Lot, explained how the discount grocer is upgrading its legacy merchandise, space and floor planning environment.
“Our previous planning system was hosted by a third party and was last updated in 2013,” explained Blackshear. “There were software performance issues.”
In the third quarter of 2021, Save A Lot kicked off the first phase of upgrading its planning capabilities by implementing several Blue Yonder solutions, built on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. The retailer leveraged this technology in areas such as space, floor and category planning.
One advantage Save A Lot obtained from its new Blue Yonder planning implementation was gaining the ability to batch print planograms.
“Before, for resets and remodels, we had to manually print planograms for each store,” said Blackshear. “Batch printing is more efficient.”
In addition, Save A Lot leveraged its new space planning capabilities to execute 250 store remodels, as well as support conversion of all stores to a licensed wholesale model. This transferal of stores to local ownership took one year.
Currently, Blackshear said Save A Lot is in phase 3 of its Blue Yonder deployment, which is learning more about what the technology can do.
“At the store level, we have basic planning systems in place,” she said. “We can see store specs and floor plans; and print out all planograms that might be needed for a set of stores. Before, the store field teams only had access to data from one store at a time. Now, they can see the entire store database.”
Looking ahead, Blackshear said Save A Lot is working toward implementing a planogram feedback mechanism.
“It’s important that we are able to gather planogram feedback and gauge participation from our retail partners,” she said.
Blackshear concluded by reviewing a couple of important lessons Save A Lot learned in the process of upgrading its planning architecture.
“Working alongside leadership and staying in constant communication is critical,” stated Blackshear. “We learned to anticipate potential roadblocks and to work together with the big picture in mind.”