OPERATIONS

Home Depot jumps into same-day delivery

BY Marianne Wilson

The nation’s largest home improvement retailer has joined other retailers in offering same-day deliveries.

The Home Depot has rolled out express same-day and next-day local delivery for more than 20,000 of its most popular items to 35 major metros across the U.S. The new service is part of the company’s ongoing supply chain upgrade, which includes an expansion of its delivery offerings. Qualifying products for the new express delivery option range from power tools to décor to garden supplies, with delivery options starting at $8.99.

The retailer is partnering with car and van providers Roadie and Deliv to offer the new delivery options for smaller items, while it continues to expand its supply chain network for faster shipments of large bulk deliveries. The ongoing investment calls for additional direct fulfillment centers and more than 100 new distribution sites to further extend delivery speed and reach.

“This is just the beginning of our expansion of improved delivery options, but it’s a significant milestone in the way we’re serving customers,” said Mark Holifield, executive VP of supply chain and product development. (Holifield discusses The Home Depot’s supply chain investments on the company’s Give Me an H podcast.)

To use the service, customers access “express delivery from store” through the retailer’s website or app, available.

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Starbucks reportedly cutting ‘top level’ staff in leadership shake-up

BY CSA Staff

An organizational shake-up is underway at Starbucks, a move that the company expects to stimulate sales and rekindle investors’ interest.

The coffee giant is planning corporate layoffs that will target top level leadership. These organizational changes will begin this week and carry on into November, according to Bloomberg, which cited a memo that Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson sent to employees following the company’s quarterly town hall meeting in Seattle last week.

According to the email, the company wants to “increase the velocity of innovation that is relevant to our customers, inspires our partners, and is meaningful to our business. To accomplish this, we are going to make some significant changes to how we work as leaders in all areas of the company.”

Starbucks did not reveal the number of layoffs, but did report that some employees will be shifted between company departments, Bloomberg reported.

To read more, click here.

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Study: AI adoption is on the rise across the supply chain

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Retailers are increasingly investing in artificial intelligence (AI) to automate operations and improve supply chain efficiency.

One in three companies claim to have incorporated AI capabilities into their supply chain management processes, and one in four is working toward that goal, according to “Strengthening the Supply Chain,” a study from Symphony RetailAI.

AI is poised to enhance every link in the supply chain, delivering faster, more reliable demand insights, unparalleled quality management capabilities, and real-time updates along the way. Retailers said AI’s greatest potential to improve supply chain management relates to quality and speed of planning insights, while nearly half of all respondents identified “demand management” as one of the top three areas for AI in the next five years.

AI could also help companies automate supply chain operations. This would be an improvement since nearly two-thirds of retail supply chain professionals struggle with disconnects between systems. The majority of surveyed retailers have confidence in their allocation and inventory planning software, but 48% rate their forecasting technology as average to very poor. While they would prefer that each supply chain component work together to enable harmonized demand flow across the organization, few retailers have established a unified process.

The lack of connected systems causes other roadblocks, as well. For example, 36% of respondents indicated that they have separate demand planning, replenishment, allocation and order management systems for store and e-commerce orders. Combined with the fact that 28% don’t manage each of their modules on the same platform, it becomes clear that disparate demand replenishment systems are a significant burden to efficiency.

Retailers feel pressure to push past barriers, and forecast more accurately. However, the pace of innovation is a significant issue, with 43% of retail supply chain professionals saying their technology can’t keep up with business demands. Meanwhile, 42% describe less-than-optimal synchronization between their inventory and channels, and nearly as many worry about fulfillment complexities, stocking inefficiencies and high product lead time.

When they do invest in needed technology, organizations are most inclined to spend on systems that increase stock availability and decrease stock holding. Meanwhile, 44% of supply chain professionals invest in new technology because their existing systems are unable to sustain new growth.

While retailers strive to keep reasonable service levels, 43% of respondents said they’re challenged by a lack of real-time visibility of all supply chain inventory. However, six in 10 supply chain professionals said their organization is actively taking steps to address this hurdle and increase inventory visibility.

The good news is a new generation of AI solutions can help over-come these challenges.

“Supply chain efficiency is more critical than ever. There’s also a constant backdrop of rising cost of goods, which cannot simply be passed on to the customer,” said Patrick Buellet, chief strategy officer, Symphony RetailAI.

“Even though retailers are challenged by the pace of innovation, winners are investing in new technologies, particularly artificial intelligence and machine learning,” he added. “These can boost productivity, and greatly improve the accuracy of information for better decisions throughout the supply chain.”

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