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Survey: Retailers missing chance to optimize inventory

BY Dan Berthiaume

A majority of retailers are not applying business intelligence in key areas of their supply chains.

According to the Boston Retail Partners (BRP) 2018 Integrated Planning and Inventory Management Survey, most retailers (67%) are not leveraging advanced analytics to improve their planning decisions and optimize inventory. In addition, only 39% of surveyed retailers identified improved analytics as a top priority.

Other notable findings from the survey include:

• 33% of retailers currently use advanced analytics for merchandise planning and another 48% plan to within three years.

• 30% of retailers currently use advanced analytics for assortment planning and another 49% plan to within three years.

• 31% of retailers currently use advanced analytics for demand planning and another 54% plan to within three years.

• 22% of retailers currently use advanced analytics for product lifecycle management (PLM) and another 33% plan to within three years.

“The technology for artificial intelligence (AI) tools has advanced dramatically in the past five years,” said Ken Morris, principal at BRP Consulting. “Innovative new technologies can even predict where customers will be in the next hour or next day based on historical patterns. AI is also helping retailers make better decisions on which store should fulfill an online order. For example, if they can identify/predict that the item in inventory at the closest store will likely sell at full price, but the same item at a different store location will likely result in overstock and markdowns, the retailer can ship from the further store and maximize total profits.”

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