Warehouse management

Transportation Optimization - a silver bullet to solve "last mile delivery?"

Ted Matwijec, Managing Director, ACT Operations Research – Raleigh, NC.

Learn how knowing your constraints and customer demands feeds sophisticated algorithms to provide optimal routing and balance delivery vs costs   Lately I have been seeing more and more of those brand-new Amazon Prime - Mercedes panel trucks making deliveries around my neighborhood.   Also, I have even seen the USPS delivering packages on Sunday (contracted by Amazon I am sure).  What’s going on Sunday deliveries? On demand delivery with time windows specified by a customer is becoming the consumer norm.  Remember the delivery or service call by your cable TV/Internet provider saying my service guy will be there between 8 am and noon then shows up at 11:50am.  Met their promise, but ruined your whole morning wasted sitting around! Let me assure you that customer service problem can be solved and you don’t need the resources of Amazon, UPS or Fed Ex. Amazon is clearly moving into the supply chain delivery markets much to the chagrin of FED EX and UPS to take back their “last mile” deliveries of their goods and solve this problem for the customer.    The question is how can they make the most expensive part of delivery – the “last or golden mile” to a customer profitable? From our experience in these markets, simply put, Amazon, Fed Ex, UPS and other large transportation companies have the best and brightest staff of Math, Statistical Phds that constantly hone their algorithms to minimize costs and maximize the service requirements.   When profit is measured in pennies in a transportation system – (that’s why you see the UPS guys running from each delivery back to their trucks) – the solution cannot be a spreadsheet or database or even year 2000 optimization technology. It is not rocket science, well maybe sort of, but rather advanced mathematics (think Calculus) applied to route planning optimization and fleet capacity analysis.  These transportation algorithms (remember the traveling salesman problem) have generically been around for decades, however now they are totally customized, enhanced and improved enough to cover the most minutia of system requirements – by many software companies.  I read that UPS has put 10’s of millions of dollars in R&D over the years into their algorithms to update and improve optimize their KPIs – as an example! So, why now is the “last delivery mile” more complex and expensive than ever?   The short answer, the customer is demanding it and will go other places if your company cannot provide it!   We all know how poor delivery can be written up in YELP or GOOGLE about your business – a big problem in the social media world for your marketing department.   (eg. – delivered food late for a kid’s birthday party) The good news for any retail or grocery store fleet manager is that to solve the “last mile delivery” the technology today is much less expensive and available for all size of fleets and route planners The long answer is the complexity of the business rules, constraints and requirements to execute this service.   First some examples…of customer/supplier requirement I am seeing today in our markets of retail and grocery applications - Customers: Wants confirmation of a tighter availability of their grocery delivery – eg. In the next 30 minutes Desire communications via a mobile app, email or text to the customer – about the updated arrival time. Want a positive experience to tell their friends how good their deliveries are! – We all want that on demand! Grocery/Retail Stores with their own fleets, or outsourced via 3PLs - Wants a confirmation signature the groceries have been delivered and that information is sent back to the IT system in real time, with SKU information, for example – for replenishment purposes. Wants real time updates from their drivers about location, traffic and estimated delivery window to communicate back to the customer. Wants to be able to reschedule a driver in real time for a new pickup at the store/warehouse or pick-up a returned item. So, the lengthy transportation distances between warehouses to stores is a natural issue solved by logistics teams for inventory replenishment.  Now add that complex delivery network and inventory now required “on demand” from a store location or back in the warehouse for a customer that wants it delivered this afternoon – and you get to see why the “last mile” delivery starts to become complex and expensive!  From a labor, IT system connection, communication systems, loading, unloading, time window point of view, the human brain cannot possibly manage all the variables in your network – to balance cost vs services. Lot’s of moving business costs involved to serve the customer. So, from my 30  + years in the Operations Research field, I can strongly recommend an updated math model is appropriate for route planning and optimization and is the potential strategic “silver bullet” you are looking for – to support you competing in your markets!  Of-course it is not the whole answer, you have to execute a plan, change some processes and manage the fleet – the cultural processes. Question, when was the last time you asked for your route planning algorithms to be updated in your home grown business system,  TMS or ERP system, meanwhile your points of service network has changed a lot just in the last 5 years! I have seen the market share winners in the tight margin grocery or retail store business realize that the supply chain strategy to optimize delivery to their clients from source through the delivery point is accomplished by using transportation optimization.   Managing constraints like labor, fuel costs, traffic conditions, time window, texts and emails to meet that short time window and the “last mile” requires serious modeling/computational power and IT changes. The good news is that this technology is more readily available, less expensive from providers, easier to use for your staff, and has proven real cost savings – to meet or exceed your customers expectations. How much did your optimization algorithms cut your cost in your delivery system last year? Find the hidden value in your delivery system today, using math optimization, your savings should be a min. 10%+ or more in our experience to deliver on time or earlier and impress your customers! +MORE

BEFORE! Predictive Analytics

ACT Operations Research

1) Predict demand down to store and SKU level 2) Predict promotional campaign affect in the store, transportation and warehouse operations 3) Buy optimal quantities 4) Manage the risk associated with stock outs vs promotional campaigns and waste 5) considers assortment constraints and category efficiency 6) simulate store queuing for capacity analysis purposes and cost reduction purposes.  REVENUE, SALES & PROMOTION Revenue management and price optimization is a core-activity in any market oriented company operating in different industries (Retails, Fast Fashion, Chain Store, Car Rentals, Web Business, etc.). The goal of our suite is to provide, to the revenue managers, advanced analytics, using a unique combination and integration of predictive, optimization and simulation models. While the analytics tools are complex the results are always presented in an intuitive way. The core products included in the Revenue, Sale, Price & Promotion (RSP&P) suite are: Dynamic Price Optimizer (DPO), the multi-paradigm predictive paltform - Before! Predictive Analytics with Before! Sales Campaign -, the customers and market profiling analytics (CMP), the promotion optimization and what-if analysis platform - Before! Promo.  Before! Sales Campaign Before! Sales Campaign software addresses the needs of industries where the products and the merchandise assortments, have a fast renewal  dynamics, even during the same season, like the case of fashion and  fast-fashion channels, electronics or several web-business  Before! Promo Before!Promo, is a complete multi-paradigm analytical tool by ACTOR, developed for scaling enterprise companies. In the current competitive scenario the consumers pay high attention to the promotions, on the other hand promotions exposed retailers and vendors to higher risks in terms of image, in case of stock-out or costs in case of over-stock. When products are fresh-food or fast fashion for example, the risks become even higher.  Before! Predictive Analytics  Before! Predictive Analytics or simply Before!, is a complete multi-paradigm demand forecasting platform by ACTOR, developed for scaling enterprise companies. Before! provides you the capability to forecast the demand while gaining control of the related organization processes such as; planning, procurement, inventory optimization, store replenishments, etc..  Dynamic Price Optimization  Dynamic Price Optimization (DPO) is a capacity and revenue management software based on sophisticated analytical algorithms. It permits users to optimize the prices of products, assets and commodities over the time based on the expected demand, the competitor’s prices and other key-information like, for example, price elasticity.   +MORE

Connect

Mobile App Pain Points

John Kangas, CEO, FwdMbl Solutions

Your current in-house system works great within your four walls.  The pain starts when you walk out that door and it can give you a full-on business migraine by the end of the day. We can ease the pain by targeting these five major sources when your workforce hits the road. Breakdowns in Communication When an Account Manager, Sales Rep, Delivery Driver, or Customer directly needs information, they need it NOW!  It should not require phone calls, strings of emails to and from the office or multiple warehouse locations to find product, invoice information, aging or account information, upcoming orders, etc. It’s frustrating and time consuming for everyone involved.  You should not require an Internet connection to give this to your customer when you are standing in front of them. FwdMbl Solutions gives Account Managers, Sales Reps, Delivery Drivers all this information right at their fingertips. It is available without the need for Wi-Fi or a cell signal and can be printed, emailed or faxed right there. There’s no need to track down items or pricing, looking up inventory and pricing is immediate. Pricing Errors Let’s face it, pricing can be complicated. If updates in pricing don’t make it to the ones that are selling in the field you can lose money. If incorrect information is given it can turn into an embarrassing situation.  Pricing can be different per customer given contracted pricing or discounts. Sales may be given leeway to adjust pricing on the fly within reason.  There are many scenarios as there are companies.  Pricing needs to be up-to-date and correct each and every time FwdMbl Solutions handles all pricing scenarios. All pricing updates can be real-time saving you money and confusion. Workflow Issues The system you are using doesn’t match your workflow.  You need to hunt for your tasks and weed through things you don’t use.  You are jumping from one item to another just to complete these tasks.  This takes precious time and leads to frustration. FwdMbl Solutions gives you role-based programming.  It gives you only your work for the day and one task seamlessly flows to the next. It’s so efficient, before you know it, your day is complete with time to spare! Internet Connection/Equipment Problems I see it almost every day while going to the grocery store, convenience store or my favorite restaurant.  Account Managers, Sales People, and Delivery Drivers trying to connect to Wi-Fi, or get any Internet connection.  Once they do, connection is slow and they have wait for webpages to display on their screen.  When it does finally appear, the information is hard to read or cannot be given to the customer. Printers disconnect or jam. Old devices just giving up the ghost. FwdMbl Solutions’ Apps are native apps that work connected or disconnected. They are not merely a webpage you are trying to display on your phone.  We use our unique technology to make sure your employees are never waiting for the information they need.  Once the information is pinpointed it can be printed, emailed or faxed to give immediate access to your customer. Training is Difficult FwdMbl Solutions’ Apps are robust, yet simple and elegant.  The screens are not busy or hard to read.  The workflow is intuitive and training is a breeze. The PAIN IS REAL!  When your software is in your employees’ hands and doesn’t work disconnected, has missing or inaccurate customer or order information, has printer or scanner malfunctions, or is cumbersome to use it is a recipe for unhappy employees and unhappy customers. At FwdMbl Solutions we can enhance your customer experience and improve employee satisfaction with our Mobile Apps and Portals.  We do this by connecting to your existing systems, so there is no need to change everything you do, only what they see.  We interface to your backend ERP, POS or other systems and display your information in a Mobile App or Portal that is fast and truly mobile. It is easy to use and best of all, it runs on the mobile phone you already own. Don’t own a phone? You can use an affordable Android device from our hardware partners. +MORE

The Growing Role of Data Intelligence in eGrocery

Michael Demko, CEO and Founder, Locai Solutions

2018 was marked by many advancements in the various applications of data intelligence – the ability for computers and apps to gather information, and use it to give customers a truly personalized experience – setting the stage for the next-level in convenience. Shoppers are now less resistant to the idea of individualized product suggestions, which creates a new dynamic of customer service: people expect products to be presented to them in an easy, personalized, and intelligent way.  A great user experience is an imperative part of any eCommerce offering, but the underlying logic, algorithms, and intelligence that bring depth and relevance to the user experience is where the real innovations are occurring. In 2019, personalization and AI will grow from being merely promotions and product recommendations to a set of  tools that help retailers sell time-saving solutions. By 2020 45% of retailers plan to utilize artificial intelligence to enhance the customer experience. Currently, many platforms generate lists that you can buy from, but with machine learning you can now deploy solutions that provide higher levels of convenience for your customers.  What exactly does the customer experience? A more frictionless buying experience. Upon initial sign in to an app powered by an engine like eGroceryIQ, customers answer questions about their dietary preferences, portion sizes, and favorite items. After each purchase, the order details are collected and used to modify that user's next shopping experience. If the customer reviews an item, that information is also integrated into future product and recipe recommendations. eCommerce platforms embedded with AI powered solutions will take all this customer data, integrate it with what is currently in their shopping cart, and provide them with a highly personalized and engaging shopping experience. These smart apps, using segment-of-one personalization, create a unique interface for each customer. Instead of having to sift through an entire catalog, shoppers are presented with their favorite items right away, as well as similar product suggestions – foods they might like based on past purchases.  Other applications for data intelligence include capabilities that provide shoppers with information to problem solve for quantity and product type. Customers can filter and scroll through listings to compare nutritional information and see what items fit with their dietary preferences or restrictions. AI solutions  can sift through recipes, parse ingredients, map them automatically to a retailer’s assortment and systematically scale the amounts needed for a family of 4 or a single serving enabling customers to use tools such as meal planning to maximize use of products already in their virtual shopping cart. As machine learning continues to evolve, the possibilities become endless.. Is it worth the investment? All that value for your customers translates to higher sales. Intelligent solutions mean higher basket sizes, improved loyalty & retention, increased conversion rate, and higher purchase frequency.  Furthermore, data intelligence can be used to advance your merchandising, logistics, and fulfillment efforts. According to Tech Emergence, "the predictive capabilities of AI may play an important role in forecasting inventory needs, determining prices of products based on internal and external factors, analyzing customer behavior, loss prevention, delivery services–and potentially much more."  Equipped with volumes of data about your customers, new platforms will emerge to enable you to more easily pivot your business strategies, optimize your interfaces, and offer a catalog of high selling products.  The bottom line? More convenience equals greater customer satisfaction and more revenue. Intelligent solutions for today and tomorrow According to Forbes magazine, almost half of Americans now buy groceries online. Recent surveys by Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Nielsen show that 49% of US consumers had bought CPGs (consumer packaged goods) online in the past three months, up from 23% in 2016. The rates were higher among younger demographics – 61% for millennials and 55% for Gen Xers. As these rates continue to increase, experts predict that AI will continue to expand to meet the growing needs of both grocers and shoppers. Without AI, traditional grocery stores will have a difficult time meeting consumer behavior and demands. Many are finding that simply adding an online catalog is not enough to satisfy their customers, nor drive higher sales. The key is increasing value through efficiency and continuous learning about your customer. Solutions embedded with machine learning are designed to meet the needs of both the retailer and the consumer – giving the consumer an engaging, personalized experience, and the retailer a comprehensive, sales-driving and scalable platform. In order to succeed digitally, a broad set of components are needed and we’re beginning to see more and more partnering between grocers and technology solutions. As Yeal Cosset, Chief Digital Officer of Kroger said, “Personalization based on available data will not work. If the filter of the data is only good you will become obsolete, but if it is great you will have success.” Investing in flexible platforms that enable integration with the best in class consumer and operational features will become necessary, as a wide host of 3rd party application providers continue to emerge as the industry evolves. +MORE

Five Predictions for Retail Transformation in 2019

Gary Hawkins, CEO , Center for Advancing Retail & Technology (CART)

As we begin 2019, tomorrow is no longer going to resemble today. The pace of tech-fueled innovation continues to grow, bringing with it increasing change across the supply chain and greater impact on traditional retail operations and models. 2019 is going to be a year of even greater change. Here are five key areas to watch this year: Frictionless shopping: The Amazon Go store with its cashier-less shopping experience has gotten the industry’s attention and this year we will see a great deal of activity in this space. There are several tech companies working to bring similar capabilities to the retail industry along with cost-effectively scaling the technology to work in traditional supermarkets. I believe the proliferation of retailers’ mobile apps having some kind of self-shopping capability - the shopper scanning their products as they shop using their smartphone and then an expedited payment process - is an interim step to a completely frictionless shopping environment. The whole idea of the Amazon Go store is to make buying products as easy as possible; the shopper having to use their app to scan and pay makes it easier to buy but not as easy as just walking in, picking up what you want, and walking out. Automated fulfillment: Kroger’s partnership with Ocado to build and operate twenty automated grocery eComm fulfillment centers is on track. We are seeing several other retailers enter into agreements with Takeoff Technologies to build mini automated fulfillment centers that can sit in the backroom, automatically fulfilling high-velocity packaged goods ordered online. Walmart is working with a partner to build an automated fulfillment center that is designed to sit alongside their stores, fulfilling high-volume products. In 2019 we are going to see even more activity in this space as other retailers will be forced to follow these leaders as automation brings efficiency and lower fulfillment costs, opening up a productivity gap. We will be seeing other technology providers step into this space as the market expands. Automated delivery: Kroger’s partnership with Nuro to use automated, driverless delivery vehicles to deliver online orders to the shopper’s home is already in pilot. Udelv and other solutions will be gaining more interest as retailers begin to focus more attention on the final mile delivery. While many retailers have signed deals with Instacart or Shipt to handle actual delivery, we’re going to see growing interest in Uber and other services to handle deliveries and fast growing interest in automated solutions like Nuro and Udelv in search of cost efficiencies. Health & Wellness gets personal: The wearables market is growing fast as Apple’s Watch and similar devices provide even more functionality to monitor key health indicators in realtime. The explosion in health data coming from these wearables will become increasingly tied to food guidance, helping the individual understand what specific food products to purchase and consume based upon the individual’s health condition and realtime data. As an example, Dexcom recently released a device that provides realtime glucose monitoring for people with diabetes. The ability to use knowledge of an individual’s glucose levels at that specific time - for example, while they are standing in front of the shelf - will inform guidance to beneficial foods. This movement is already underway as the massive food and healthcare industries converge, driven by Amazon’s ownership of Whole Foods, PillPack, and other activity in healthcare. Kroger’s Opt-UP app enables the shopper to easily understand the quality of the foods they are buying and easily filter the store’s product selection based upon the shopper’s interests, needs, and preferences. Look for a lot more activity around this space in the coming year. Melding of digital and physical retail: While most industry activity has been focused around eCommerce and automation of fulfillment and delivery of orders, I believe we are going to see growing attention to the melding of digital and physical shopping. This encompasses bringing augmented reality into the store and shopping experience; we’ll also see growing activity in virtual reality shopping as VR tech gets better and cheaper. Digital signage will spread across the store and get smarter, not only using demographic info to present messaging relevant to the person standing in front of the screen, but engagement will be far more personalized. Kroger’s new shelf Edge system is moving in this direction, lighting up as a shopper moves down the aisle to call out relevant products. Obviously there are many more areas where technology is going to transform retail but these are five key areas to watch. Each of these fundamentally changes the game: Frictionless shopping and automating fulfillment and delivery remove significant costs and will put growing pressure on competing retailers as companies using these technologies scale deployments.  Personalization will move quickly, not just in marketing but in linking an Individual shopper’s health to her favorite store’s product assortment, guiding the shopper to products to improve her wellbeing.  Lastly, shopping is about to become far more interesting and truly immersive as technology really begins to impact the shopping experience, whether you are in the brick & mortar store or sitting at home. +MORE

Pseudo Customer Centricity: Fool’s Gold

Gary Hawkins on Winsight Grocery Business, CART

Retailers must employ a customer-first philosophy into organizational culture Many regional retailers are (at last!) intent on becoming customer-centric, more than a decade after The Kroger Co. led the way and more than two decades after early loyalty pioneers proved the value of a true customer focus. But too many retailers believe that customer centricity can simply be bolted on to their organizations without realizing that true customer centricity is far more involved. Like the intrepid gold miners of the 1840s, these retailers awaken to the realization that what they’ve taken for retail gold is in actuality a false promise, seduced by the fools gold of pseudo customer centricity. I can recount meetings with senior executives from well-known retailers who espouse their customer centricity efforts; spending massive sums on consultants and solutions powered by a decade’s old approach based on customer segments integrated to the retailer’s category planning processes, and even personalized offers to shoppers. Countless of these retailers remain anchored in a product-focused world, even those who tout using technology to discover what products should be put on offer to their customers rather than starting with a vendor-funded offer pool.  True disciples of customer centricity deeply embed a customer-first philosophy into their organizational culture, extending it to every part of the enterprise. These companies realize that providing savings on products relevant to the shopper is only the beginning. Leading companies such as Amazon and Kroger are investing heavily in taking customer centricity to the next level: comprehensive, seamless user experiences across channels and devices, integrating personalized product recommendations with an understanding of the individual shopper’s specific health conditions, and laying the technology foundation for immersive shopping experiences melding the physical and digital worlds. Customer first disciples understand the dynamic flow of customers and their shopping behavior over time, putting in place capabilities and processes attuned to providing contextual relevancy inside and outside the store. And personalization—driven by past purchases and recommendation algorithms—is fast evolving to what I think of as strategic hyper-personalization, leveraging vast intelligence about each individual shopper to power a mix of recommendations to win the shopping trip, grow baskets, maximize retention, and foster customer advocacy—one customer at a time, in real time. Many regional retailers are based in more rural areas where company executives believe their shoppers are less tech savvy, relieving pressure on digital imperatives. According to Pew Research, 95% of Americans own a cellphone in 2018, with 77% of Americans owning a smartphone. Pew also calls out that in 2018, 89% of Americans use the internet. Location is no longer a proxy for customer technology illiteracy.  This year, Amazon is projected to realize over $258 billion in U.S. retail sales, an estimated 49% of all online retail spending in the United States. With this kind of penetration, and the ability to ship products anywhere overnight, traditional supermarket retailers would do well to remember that their shoppers are increasingly expecting (demanding!) the seamless and comprehensive user experience provided by Amazon, and increasingly by Kroger and Walmart. Yet, too many retailers remain mired in digital purgatory, constrained by capability silos and the inability to bring piecemeal capabilities together in a seamless fashion for shoppers.  Lastly, many seasoned grocery executives have spent their careers being rewarded for following, letting someone else bring innovation to market and only following when it has been proven successful. Years ago IT executives would buy IBM, even if it wasn’t the best choice, but because it was the "safe" choice. This practice continues today as retailers sign deals with "established" providers because they believe it is the safe choice, failing to understand that today’s environment rewards fresh, forward-looking thinking. Retail executives need to look beyond yesterday’s approach to customer centricity to capabilities and platforms that actually position the retailer for future success. The cost of failing to provide a seamless shopping experience, for failing to provide true individual shopper personalization, and failing to provide real time contextual relevancy, can rapidly obliterate any savings or security from yesterday’s "proven" approach. Tom Furphy, a former Amazon executive and the originator of Amazon Fresh, in a recent interviewspeaking to the challenges retailers face today, especially a reliance on past practices, says it all: “What seems safe is actually destructive. That’s a recipe for longer term disaster.” This article originally appeared on Winsight Grocery Business and can be viewed here +MORE

The Top Five Ways Retailers Benefit from Industry Trade Shows

Courtney Muller, Chief Corporate Development & Strategy Officer, Clarion UX

When was the last time you attended a retail or food and beverage trade show? If you have to pause to think of the answer – or know immediately that the answer is, “Never” – then it might be time to find a show or expo near you. Trade shows are the best places for those within the industry to get out of their stores and network; find new products and stay abreast of the cutting edge technology offerings; and gain invaluable education in the areas you need it most. In short, even if you spend time every day trying to stay current, you could never see it all – or know what to search for. There is no better place than a trade show … from seeing new products, meeting new people, becoming educated on a new way to engage your customers, or finding out about technology … this is the place to find what you don’t know!   Here are some of the top reasons you should attend a trade show this year: Network with Decision Makers When you think of networking, perhaps the typical “mixer” scenario comes to mind with people you don’t know awkwardly milling about a bar or restaurant, trying to strike up conversations with random people in the hopes that you might be able to benefit one another in some way. Networking at a trade show couldn’t be any more different. As an attendee, you can specifically find exhibitors with the products you seek; attend educational sessions that pertain to topics you are interested in, therefore attracting other audience members who share the same challenges; and be assured that your peers in the same industry as you are seeking similar solutions as you.  And you might even run into a colleague you haven’t seen in years! Find New Products and Foods You subscribe to industry periodicals and get Google Alerts in your inbox every day, but have you seen that new robot that identifies out of stock items and potential slip and fall hazards? Have you read about leveraging data to establish loyalty and trust with food delivery customers? A trade show is the perfect venue to scope out all that is new in the retail world from tech products to new foods and services – all in one place – to help you use technology to create a seamless customer experience. As you look for new technology innovation to keep you competitive, you may find the perfect partner for online ordering, rapid delivery, or rapid checkout through customer’s smartphones.  No matter what you want to go to a trade show to find, you will likely be pleasantly surprised by discovering even more than you thought along the aisles. See New Trends in Action Are vegan offerings a must-have? Should you offer chef demonstrations to showcase meal ideas? Are international flavors high on consumer’s minds? What chef dishes are they trying replicate at home? Be on the front line of this year’s and next year’s trends so you can bank on what your customers will be looking for in the near future. You’ll walk away with new products and great ideas you can implement immediately in your store operations. You may even realize that you are on the verge of creating an entirely different trend yourself that has yet to appear on the market – good information that you can capitalize on in the year to come. Receive Best in Class Education If school is a distant memory – or perhaps you learned hands-on in a family business and worked your way up the ranks – one of the best perks of most trade shows is the educational content provided to attendees and exhibitors alike. Whether you’re interested in operational excellence, developing your workforce, building bigger baskets, or sessions dedicated to those hot new tech trends we previously mentioned, trade shows like The NGA Show (presented by the National Grocers Association) in San Diego this coming February will have you covered on all fronts. What’s more, you can connect with presenting industry specialists to gain even more valuable insight into the topics that interest you most. Gain Immediate, Actionable Ideas The bottom line … your time is valuable and you want to spend any time out of your store obtaining the cream of the crop ideas - from new products, growth strategies and tech trends. Hear what the experts have to share, sample emerging products, uncover new technology, and refresh your enthusiasm for the business. You’ll walk away with a plan to bring all of these new ideas and initiatives into your store operation to drive profits, growth and innovation.   No matter where you are in your retail career, a trade show will no doubt provide you with opportunities, education and inspiration as you progress in the business. Interested in learning more? Check out the upcoming NGA show: National Grocers Association Show, San Diego, CA, February 24-27, 2019, www.thengashow.com  Each year, The NGA Show brings together independent retailers and wholesalers, food retail industry executives, food/CPG manufacturers and service providers for unparalleled opportunities to learn, engage, share, network, and innovate.  Given today’s ever-changing marketplace and evolving advancements in innovation occurring in the food retail industry, The NGA Show is a must-attend event, providing over 40 educational workshops, an expo floor featuring innovative and game-changing products and solutions and countless networking opportunities.  Registration is open at www.thengashow.com – early bird registration rates in effect through December 10, 2018.  +MORE

NGA Show 2019: The Epicenter of Grocery Industry Innovation

CART, Advancing Retail

In a special event leading up to the opening of the new NGA Show 2019, CART will bring together unique education, an impressive line up of speakers, and cutting edge innovation to make San Diego the epicenter of grocery industry innovation during Feb. 24-27, 2019. With a focus on regional retailers and dynamic independent operators, the CART team will present an innovation tour de force designed to help attendees not only stay in the game but help them win. CART is coming together with leading retailers through-out the industry to provide attendees a new worldview for the future of retail where transformation and disruption are the new normal: iRetail. Focused on five ‘i’s, iRetail will give attending executives a framework for evaluating their existing capabilities and provide a roadmap to closing the innovation gap. In a time of declining and disappearing industry events, the NGA Show has become a beacon of light for the industry as it has grown each year, even outgrowing its longtime home in Las Vegas, spurring the move to San Diego this coming February. CART has had a long time partnership with NGA and is taking the relationship to a new level this year, building on the success of CART’s Innovation Event at last year’s show.  Make sure to put Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, on your calendar and plan to attend the CART special event at the new NGA Show! +MORE

Technology's Profound Impact on the Supermarket Industry

Peter Larkin, President & CEO, National Grocers Association

Often cited as the one of the greatest catalyst of change within the retail grocery industry, technology is an area that independent supermarket operators must understand, and embrace.  Technology continues to have a profound impact, where virtually every detail of the supermarket industry is being touched by new solutions and platforms. I see three technology threads, each entwined with the other. One is the explosion of mobile applications and programs that are turning grocery shoppers into high information consumers. According to Pew research, smart phone adoption among Americans has more than doubled since 2011. Not only are shoppers becoming more sophisticated, but they are using technology as a way to gain more information, transparency, and convenience. At the touch of a mobile screen, consumers can instantly access to updated information on locally sourced perishables, competitive promotions, price checks and recipe ingredient lists. In turn, this migration to the digital space is shaping customer relationships with retailers. Today’s shopper does not want to be talked to but instead wants to be a part of the conversation. Consumer product manufacturers and marketers make up a second technology thread. By analyzing large chunks of customer data and retail sales, manufacturers, retailers and service suppliers are exploring innovative ways to touch their target audiences. Big data though can be vast and hard to harness. Whether it’s social media, a mobile payment system, or loyalty programs, technology can effectively create many new opportunities for savvy retailers to learn about and to connect with their shoppers to better serve their needs. A good place to see and learn about a number of these innovative solutions is right here at www.advancingretail.org. The third thread is in the store itself, where technology is increasingly employed to improve overall store productivity to program more effective lighting, to boost checkout efficiency, to track shopper traffic flows to improve layout and sales per square foot, or to offer customers immediate cost savings via real time wifi connections as they shop. A great, and very recent, example of this is Sedano's Supermarkets launch of a “robotic supermarket,” which entails an automated fulfillment center where AI-enabled robots will assemble full supermarket orders of up to 60 items. While the landscape is quickly evolving, many independent grocers are taking advantage of cutting-edge technologies to engage with their shoppers, find efficiencies, and reach new and existing customers where, how, and when they want. Independents have been making their move into digital. They are hiring dedicated staff, dedicating marketing budgets to digital initiatives, more effectively leveraging social media platforms, and integrating the latest technologies into their business strategies.  With the dramatic pace in which new apps and tech solutions are coming on to the market, it can all seem a bit overwhelming, but technology will play a defining role in the supermarket industry.  Those retailers that are on the forefront of implementing new technology and embrace the hyper-connected, tech-savvy consumer are positioning themselves for success. I’m one who is convinced that these threads will weave into a pattern of rising sales and profits. And that’s why the 2019 NGA Show will kick-off with a new educational event, spearheaded by our partners at CART, entitled “iRetail: Technology Innovation Reshaping the Grocery Industry.” The event is designed to give supermarket operators a framework for navigating fast-paced innovation while maintaining a focus on the importance of people and physical stores as we move into the future. Despite increased competition from all angles, it is an exciting time for the supermarket industry – and we at NGA are bullish about what the future holds for the independent grocers! Known as the true entrepreneurs of the industry, independents are nimble enough to quickly overcome obstacles, and are finding innovative ways to respond to changing consumer preferences, which is something they’ve always been good at given their close ties to their communities and the consumers they serve. +MORE

Locai Solutions

Locai Solutions Inc

locai is the first company to offer a full suite of software that integrates an e-commerce platform with a fulfillment management system. locai provides a flexible set of solutions including a turn-key eCommerce website, as well as access to great UX features - such as product recommendations, meal planning, and endless aisles - via APIs for easy integration into your existing eCommerce platform. These features have been proven to drive higher basket sizes, and create greater customer engagement, satisfaction, and retention. The locai platform is also the first eCommerce solution for grocers to be built on a cloud based architecture that enables order execution via the full spectrum of fulfillment formats. The locai Fulfillment Management System is versatile and capable of supporting numerous operating footprints, from warerooms to dark stores and/or dedicated distribution centers, and while fully integrated with locai's eCommerce Platform, the FMS can easily integrate with other eCommerce platforms and order management systems to create a unique solution for your brand. Embedded with real-time operating metrics, intelligent pick cart building logic and order verification, the locai Fulfillment Management System is proven to reduce operating cost per order while improving order accuracy. +MORE

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Upping the In-store Technology Game in Grocery: A Do-or-Die Proposition

Alex Goodwin, Aila Technologies

“The grocery business truly is at a digital tipping point, where every aspect of the shopper’s journey will soon be influenced by digital, and increasingly enabled by digital platforms.”                                                                                     — Chris Morley, President of U.S. CPG & Retail, Nielsen, January 2017 The summer of 2017 has seen retailers making moves to add new digital capabilities at a frenzied pace. Albertsons is revamping its e-commerce systems. Publix has declared that it will offer home delivery at all locations by 2020. Kroger is piloting “digital shelf-edge” technology that it hopes will enhance efficiencies in pricing and data collection. And that’s just to name a few. Spurred by Amazon’s surprise announcement that it would acquire Whole Foods in June, grocers and mass retailers in the food and beverage space have been racing to get a leg up on the competition by investing in technology that can capture data, create enhanced customer experiences, and activate new processes such as delivery and in-store online ordering. Amazon is a real threat to existing grocery chains, but it’s not the only one: Target is expanding its commitment to food and beverage, and the nation’s biggest retailer, Walmart, is “gaining [grocery] market share at an accelerating pace.”  With so much at stake in what amounts to a technology arms race, grocers must be strategic in the experiences they craft and the processes they enable. On the other hand, an overly cautious approach may also prove costly: as digital-first consumers are increasingly influenced by technologically sophisticated industry giants, retailers who fail to act decisively risk losing hardfought market share in this ultra-competitive industry. As the grocery world braces for increasing demands for e-commerce capabilities, grocers would be well served to consider enhancing those in tandem with their in-store digital offerings.  The Online Challenge To date, online ordering only accounts for roughly 3% of grocery sales in the US, according to the Shelby Report, although that number is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. While the last-mile logistical hurdles continue to be problematic, the one big edge that e-commerce gives retailers comes in the realm of data collection.  Every digital transaction provides a wealth of sortable data about shopping habits such as purchase history and frequency. It also provides an array of opportunities for personalizing the interaction. For instance, digital platforms offer numerous options for delivering product recommendations based on past purchases or to pair with products already in the virtual shopping cart. In addition to creating a more pleasant shopping experience, these are proven ways to drive revenue: a recent Mckinsey report indicated that cross-selling can increase sales by 20% and profits by 30%. Similarly, Amazon admitted way back in 2006 that 35% of its revenues come from its cross-sales and upselling efforts. While simple apps can provide automated cross-selling capabilities online, grocers must find ways to bring these and other revenue-generating opportunities into their brick-and-mortar locations. A Seamless Buying Experience, Online and In-Store With 97% of the reported $600 billion in grocery transactions each year taking place in physical locations, it is imperative that grocers provide a seamless experience across all shopping channels. Brick-and-mortar stores must be able to deliver the same capabilities that customers are increasingly expecting when they order online — ever smoother and more efficient transactions, as well as product recommendations, loyalty rewards and discounts, and enhanced brand interactions.  The future of grocery will be built upon an in-store digital infrastructure made up of a series of connected devices capable of bringing the convenience and personalization of the digital world into the supermarket aisle. This infrastructure can solve discrete problems for consumers — wayfinding, detailed product information, line-busting, product recommendations, couponing, and more. At the same time, it will serve more broadly as a platform for innovation for retailers, to experiment with exciting new brand experiences and digital efficiencies.  The traditional, bulky, custom-built legacy hardware systems simply don’t have the versatility to keep up. Furthermore, in an industry in the midst of transformational changes, investing in expensive, single-purpose devices risks locking companies into operational workflows that might soon be obsolete. Instead, the infrastructure of the future will likely be built upon powerful consumer-oriented mobile devices. Today’s tablets and smartphones possess the features and functionality to enable solutions that solve current needs, such as in-store price checking kiosks, ordering stations, and POS systems, while also providing the hardware capabilities and flexibility to enable a nearly limitless array of future experiences and use cases.  Retail stores today must act as showroom, warehouse, and fulfillment center, providing both product and information wherever and however their customers need it. To enable this, retailers will be well suited to have the following components in place:  A digital infrastructure (from price checkers to point-of-sale terminals to associate handheld tools) that delivers a seamless digital experience throughout the store, while also tracking data for analysis and optimization of the customer experience, inventory management, store layout, product location, and more. Smart handheld devices that empower associates with full access to product information and customer needs, improving efficiency and productivity. In-store kiosks that offer a branded, user-friendly interface that will make the in-store experience as convenient as shopping online, maximizing next-gen technologies. These tools are available now, and the grocery tech race is already well underway. To maintain the status quo or move slowly is to sink into obsolescence. Bold, decisive action to infuse brick-and-mortar supermarkets with the best elements of the digital experience will be critical to surviving grocery’s ongoing transformation. +MORE

Pace of Innovation -- Shattering the Status Quo

Gary Hawkins, CART

Retailers are shellshocked by the increasing pace of technology fueled innovation that is transforming and disrupting the industry. It seems not a week goes by that we don’t read about yet another new competitor entering the grocery space or some new innovation being rolled out by an existing competitor. Case in point: Kroger’s recent announcement that it is deploying its Shop, Scan, and Bag self-shopping solution at 400+ stores. This in response to Amazon’s cashier-less Go store pilot and Walmart’s similar self-shopping solution. Supermarket retailers are challenged on several fronts relative to innovation. It is nearly impossible for a retailer to be aware of all the new innovation entering the market. As an example, CART reviews an estimated 100 new solutions each month. Beyond awareness though is the challenge of deciding what areas to focus on (supply chain, distribution, marketing, store operations, etc.) and deciding what specific solution to pilot. And then having to decide what new capabilities to deploy across operating stores. Having efficient operations, quality foods, and great pricing and service is simply the cost of entry to supermarket retail. The new battleground is innovation. This is a new world for retailers to navigate. As an example, we see too many retailers implementing different digital capabilities in a piecemeal fashion rather than working towards a cohesive and comprehensive platform. The self-shopping capability mentioned earlier is a great example. Some retailers are trying to implement this kind of capability through a third-party app or a separate app rather than bundling it into one mobile app for their customers. Shoppers are after an omni-channel, seamless experience, not being forced to interact with different apps or systems to do business with a retailer. CART is here to help. We’re able to leverage our strong retail experience, industry knowledge, and unique insight to new capabilities and innovation flowing into the market to help retailers understand where they are today relative to their competitors and best-in-class retailers. Developing an innovation roadmap is important to help in prioritizing what new innovation to focus on and to create a foundation capable of adapting to new capabilities and technologies as they come into the market. +MORE

FwdMbl

FwdMbl Solutions, LLC

Account Management, DSD, Route Sales, & Proof of Delivery Apps Mobile Sales & DSD Customer, Leads, Prospects Orders, Credits, Invoices Aging, Statements Receive On Account, Credit Cards GPS Tracking & Signature Capture Print, Email, & Fax Documents Items, Availability, Inventory Images DEX, NEX & EDI Warehouse Transfers & Scrap Multi-Language Works Offline Proof of Delivery Delivery List Stop List Route & Stop Status GPS Tracking Signature Capture Returnable Container Tracking Asset Tracking Pallet Tracking Customer & Stop Documents Multi-Language Works Offline Account Management Customers, Leads, Prospects Quotes, Estimates, Notes Orders, Credits & Returns Receive On Account Aging, Statements Documents Sales History Warehouse Inventory Customer & Item Documents Multi-Language Works Offline Route, Inventory & Order Management Inventory Management Items, Kits Serial Number, Lot Tracking Expiration Date, FIFO/LIFO All Types of Transactions Reason Codes, Notes Pick, Pack, & Ship Reorder Points & Planning Barcode Labels & Scanning Multi Site, Warehouse, Bin Mobile Inventory App Order Management Customers Sales Orders Credits, Returns Dispatch Orders Work Orders Invoicing Quotes Inventory Integration Accounting Systems Integrations Mobile Sales App Route Management Driver & Route Setup Customer Assignment Inventory Assignment Cash Settlement Inventory Settlement Route Reports Signature Reviews Timeline & GPS Tracking Integration With Other Systems Mobile Management App   +MORE

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Interactive Kiosk

Aila Technologies, Inc.

INTERACTIVE KIOSK With scanning technology that’s second-to-none and customization that caters to any retail environment, Aila’s Interactive Kiosk is the industry standard for tablet kiosk solutions. ADDITIONAL FEATURES TrueScan™ Technology: The industry's best integrated image-capturing solution Wi-Fi Transparent: No matter where you place it in your store, the Interactive Kiosk is designed to maximize signal transmission Compatible: Designed for seamless compatibility with Apple's suite of iPad devices +MORE

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Warehouse Automation

IAM Robotics

IAM Robotics Has Built the World’s First Mobile, Autonomous Piece Picking Robot Mobile Picking Robot: Introducing Swift, an autonomous robot that navigates your warehouse aisles to pick products or retrieve goods. Online grocery shopping is poised to take off. Automation is making it cost effective for grocers, and morme importantly, consumers are finally ready to adopt online grocery shopping on a larger scale. Grocery items have a high percentage of SKUs that can be easily picked by our robots. Race past your competition and delight your community of e-grocery shoppers with IAM Robotics solutions. +MORE

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BRdata Host

BRdata Software Solutions

BRdata Host™ is a powerful, flexible, feature-rich host support system. Retailers need to retrieve sales movement while controlling price and cost information from one central database daily or weekly to achieve a competitive advantage.  BRdata Host makes this all possible at an affordable price.  It is a multi-user graphical system built on Microsoft Windows technology, which provides retailers and wholesalers with the tools they need for effective item and category management.  Gain the advantage of easy integration to existing systems as well as tight integration to all of BRdata’s software product lines. Host Support Includes interfaces to most POS systems including the Standard Interchange Language (SIL).  One consolidated database for all item information.  Item prices can be broken down into multiple zones by store department or vendor.  Sales and promos are date-driven with unlimited future prices.  Host to store compare utility checks for price and item discrepancies between BRdata Host and store POS file, with an option to modify and automatically import the discrepancy batch. +MORE

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Direct Store Delivery (DSD)

BRdata Software Solutions

Maintaining control over product received at the store backdoor is crucial.  Using the BRdata DSD (Direct Store Delivery) system, users can instantly and easily verify that the costs, allowances, quantities, and products received are what is expected from the vendor. Smooth flow of DSD will increase the speed of receiving for both the store and vendor, ensure accurate inventories and correct cost/retail maintenance.  Allowing you to know exactly what is being received and at what cost at the time of delivery is an essential tool that will contribute significantly to the profitability of your retail grocery operations. +MORE

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Inventory Module

BRdata Software Solutions

The BRdata inventory module gives users the resources needed to easily track perpetual inventory by updating item quantities with automated retrieval of POS sales movement and in-store received items. Take control over inventory replenishment and prevent under/over ordering. Monitor and report on stock levels, costs and averages to gain a clear view into your true inventory costing and profitability. Gain control over your inventory with the BRdata Inventory module which gives users the resources needed to easily manage stock levels.  Eliminate uncertainty by better managing inventory and costs while ensuring you have sufficient on-hand stock to fill anticipated store sales and avoiding overstock. +MORE

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Datalogic Suite of Services

Datalogic ADC

Revolutionizing Retail Improving the In-Store Experience Delivering a valuable and relevant in-store shopping experience for today’s sophisticated and digitally connected consumer is the most difficult challenge in retail. Datalogic is applying new advanced technology to products and solutions that allow the retailer and key system integrator partners around the world to reinvent and improve the in-store shopping experience. Datalogic provides Retail Solutions for... POS Checkout, Assisted Sales, Loss Prevention - Reducing Produce Shrink / Loss, Loss Prevention – EAS Deactivation, Loss Prevention -Reducing Bottom-of-Basket (BOB) Loss, Identity / Age Verification, Form Automation, Mobile Marketing, Host Download, Cashier Training, Diagnostic and Productivity Reporting, Queue Busting, Self-Checkout and Personal Shopping. +MORE

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Warehouse Management System

BRdata Software Solutions

Maintaining inventory is key for any warehouse. BRdata’s Warehouse module can help you track your inventory through reporting, slotting, order management and inventory extraction. Track and maintain items from the point of being received at host level, right down to the point of consumer sale at store level. Our Warehouse Management solution has been placed in numerous locations across the country and is constantly adapting and developing to new environments. It has been used for Grocery Warehouses, Distribution Centers, Production Warehouses, Produce Warehouses, and Commissaries. +MORE

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Zig Zag Global

ZigZag Global

We offer a range of services to help you manage, track and resell your stock.  We can sell your returns on over 25 different online market places.  We provide a suite of technology tools that integrate with the returns page on your site.  Integrate ZigZag with your eCommerce store ZigZag will provide you with an online portal, branded with your logo for mobile, tablet and desktop. This can be integrated with your website in minutes by using an iFrame or URL redirect. The customer can use this portal to submit a request for items to be returned. The customer then enters the order number and  their postcode or zip code for verification. The portal can also be accessed from a QR code on a dispatch note or from a link in an order confirmation email. The customer will be taken to a generic site hosted by ZigZag which can be also branded (e.g. yourbrand.zigzag.global/returns)  Your customers submit their returns The customer is then shown their shopping basket and they can select the item(s) they wish to return and select the reason for return from a customised list – we support over 25 languages. The customer can then be offered a list of courier options depending on the options that you wish to make available to the customer. This might include: Free or paid options for the customer Express & standard delivery options for the customer Pick up options from the customer’s home or place of work PUDO locations where the customer can drop off items to be returned The ability to print off a label to stick on the package and post to a local address  Track, manage and resell your stock Returns are fully tracked or part tracked wherever possible, and the ZigZag returns platform will give visibility on what’s coming back and how much it will cost before it has even left the customer. Once the item has been returned by the customer, ZigZag can open and inspect the goods to check they are as described. We can redirect the return to the place where it has the highest propensity to sell or send back via the most cost-effective route. Or if you’d like, we can list your returned stock on over 20 global marketplaces in many different languages until sold, on a revenue share basis. Once the item sells, you will be credited for the sale, turning your returns into cash without you having to lift a finger. +MORE

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Maxerience

Maxerience

Linking Retail Shelves To Production Lines New Consumer Packaged Goods(CPG) & products need not just sit in retail shelves – without having a link back to their production lines. Our solutions, through a patent pending process, create a feedback link between retail shelves, manufacturing entities & distribution channels - to enable processes that solve out-of-stock issues in retail shelves and also understand customer behavior at the shelf level in real time.  Helix as the CPG product training platform creates digital copies of products right at the production line in a matter of minutes, and creates an AI model in less than 30 minutes! as a global database of CPG products holds CPG product AI models and directs them to the appropriate shelves for product recognition, on any retail shelf around the planet! as a retail shelf data report generator gives real time shelf stock and event data access to sales managers, merchandizers and associates! +MORE

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Pensa Systems

Pensa Systems

Autonomous Perception for Retail Inventory Visibility Powerful AI System Provides Real-Time Shelf Visibility and Learns as it Goes Pensa's autonomous perception system repidly scans and automatically senses shelf conditions, seeing each individual product from many angles and perspectives. It learns product placement and gets more accurate over time, recognizing aross store locations and eolving with ongoing packaging changes Autonomous Drone Small, quiet and safe drone operates after hour or selectively during store hours when areas are free Computer Vision ​Self-guided and automatic, the drone sees and understands real-time shelf conditions, acting as remote eyes to a smart system in the cloud Artificial Intelligence ​Patent-pending AI learns, analyzes and concludes - recognizing how products are managed while predicting low stock +MORE

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Locix

Locix Inc.

LOCIX'S CLOUD-BASED SOLUTIONS DIGITIZE PHYSICAL SPACES, PROVIDING UNPRECEDENTED VISIBILITY AND AWARENESS TO CONSTANTLY CHANGING ENVIRONMENTS, ENABLING STREAMLINED DECISION-MAKING, PROBLEM SOLVING, AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE SOLUTIONS  VISUAL SENSOR Images and videos are the most valuable data for today's AI solutions.  Locix's Visual Sensor is designed to cost effectively capture high definition image and video content in all spaces, providing key data to automate decision making.  With a multi-year battery life, the Visual Sensor is easily deployed in any environment without the high capital, installation, and management costs associated with traditional cameras.  LOCAL POSITIONING SYSTEM (LPS) While many aspects of a physical infrastructure remain static, people, assets and operational equipment are constantly moving. Locix LPS solution provides a revolutionary approach to highly accurate indoor positioning for monitoring, tracking, and locating items, allowing for full visibility of the flow of people, assets and operational equipment in physical spaces. Combining Locix's patented technology with WiFi, Locix's dedicated LPS infrastructure is designed for real world environments where traditional WiFi-based approaches fail to deliver. +MORE

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TradeGecko

TradeGecko Pte. Ltd.

Powerful inventory management software to help you take complete control of your business. Products, orders, relationships and insights in one place.  Inventory management from supplier to customer Inventory management Keep track of your products as you sell, manufacture and restock across multiple warehouse locations and channels. Orders & fulfillment Sync orders from multiple sales channels with inventory and accounting to boost business efficiency. Relationships Keep all your customer and supplier data in one place, complete with purchase histories and customer-specific insights. Intelligence Generate accurate sales, inventory, business reports and forecasts for better business decisions, all in real-time.  TradeGecko B2B eCommerce Store Invite your wholesale customers to buy online with a customizable B2B platform.  TradeGecko Mobile Create and manage orders with our inventory and sales app on iPad and iPhone. TradeGecko Payments Send branded invoices with secure credit card payments built right in. +MORE

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Transmetrics

Transmetrics

Stop shipping air Transmetrics solution provides cargo companies with data cleansing, demand forecasting and predictive optimization based on data science and AI.  Predictive Optimization for cargo Improve your capacity utilization, achieve multi-million savings, and reduce your environmental impact Transmetrics is a predictive optimization company which helps cargo transport companies and logistics service providers to be more optimal through the use of modern technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), data mining, predictive analytics and computer optimization. Step 1- Data Cleansing and Enrichment  The issue that many transport companies have is that their data is not clean so they don't have process transparency. They don't understand their actual efficiency and because the data is generated at multiple points and entered by people, the data quality cannot be easily improved at the source. What we do instead is we invest in artificial intelligence algorithms which can look at the data, identify the issues and improve the data quality to the level where significant transparency on the businesses is gained. This enables companies to visualize the main problem areas. Step 2 - Demand Forecasting In the second step, we take the complete and cleansed historical data set and make it predictive. In the process, we generate forecasts for what the demand and supply will be in the next few weeks. This enables companies to know the upcoming demand in advance and to take the right operational decision in a proactive manner.  Step 3 - Optimization  This step is about helping the planners and dispatchers in making decisions based on the forecasted information. The software can help you with suggestions on where to increase or decrease capacity in order to be more efficient. This is done with artificial intelligence and complex stochastic optimization algorithms. +MORE

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GreyOrange

GreyOrange Pte Ltd

Flexible. Scalable. High Performance. Intelligent robotics for warehouse and supply chain automation.  Leading Next Gen Automation in Supply Chain GreyOrange designs, manufactures and deploys advanced robotic warehouse automation systems in warehouses, fulfillment centers and distribution centers. GOODS TO PERSON SYSTEMS: Butler  Decision Science Driven Robotic Goods-to-Person System With many online and offline channels of sales available, and various services offered like same-day-delivery or store pick-up, customer preferences have evolved. This has forced companies to improve efficiency and reduce the order-to-delivery time. The sheer volume and mix of orders mean that warehouses across the world are under increasing pressure to deliver in the shortest possible time. Traditional rigid warehouse automation fail to deliver and flexible automation is the only viable solution for warehouses to gain a competitive advantage. The autonomous mobile robots from GreyOrange are excellent examples of goods-to-man automation.  The GreyOrange Butler is an advanced autonomous mobile robot that uses robotic goods-to-person technology for automated put-away, inventory storage, replenishment and order picking in fulfillment and distribution centers. This goods-to-man automation system with robots in warehouse, adapts seamlessly to changing inventory profiles, demand patterns and peaks. Modular system architecture ensures bi-directional scalability to increase storage volume or fulfillment throughput independently, by adding more storage racks or robots, as needed. Order Fulfillment Optimized The Butler system consists of Butler Robots (Autonomous mobile robots), Pick/Put stations, Mobile Storage Units (MSU), Auto-Charging stations, and GreyMatter, an end-to-end intelligent order fulfillment software platform that controls and manages various devices to drive autonomous collaboration.  Butler PickPal  Autonomous Fulfillment For E-Commerce Warehouses  Butler PickPal is an automated picking system. It works seamlessly and efficiently with the Butler Goods-to-Person system. Also, it processes and consolidates multiple orders simultaneously. Items are accurately identified from the MSU using sophisticated machine vision algorithms. Identified items are accurately grasped from a densely packed MSU using a collaborative robotic arm and a set of complaint grippers. Items are dropped in totes or corrugated boxes after the barcode is scanned and sent for packing. ​Today, supply chains are under enormous pressure to keep up with ever-increasing consumer demands. Rapid e-commerce adoption, same-day delivery and omni-channel operations place many new demands on warehouse operations. As a response to this, supply chain executives tend to build bigger warehouses, increase their workforce or add complex technology to achieve gains in productivity. Even with additional investments, the problems cannot always be solved.  PickPal is an automated picking system in warehouse . It works seamlessly with GreyOrange Butler Goods-to-Person System or goods to man automation for automated piece picking in warehouses. This robotic picking can pick, process, consolidate, and prepare orders in warehouses. The system is best fit for e-commerce warehouse automation as it works collaboratively with a human operators to fulfill orders, increasing picking productivity from the same workstation. This automated picking system in warehouse from GreyOrange works seamlessly & efficiently with the Butler goods-to-person system.​ SORTATION SYSTEMS  Linear Sorter Flexible and Scalable Sortation System Challenges such as increasing costs, high order volumes, manpower issues, shorter order processing window & scope for zero-error have led to the adoption of automation solutions to overcome any operational inefficiencies in distribution or fulfillment centers.  A hi-tech automated warehouse sorting system comprising of advanced software, offering unmatched throughputs, package-handling capability and reliability. It routes parcels or packages based on industry, defined sortation logic such as destination, volume, weight or any other custom logic based on your business dynamics. Greyorange introduces its parcel sorter and linear sorter with these intact qualities. GreyOrange linear sorter comes as a standard product and it has the shortest lead time to implementation. From concept to installation, GreyOrange Sorter can deploy in up to 4-6 weeks.  Cross Belt Sorter High Throughput, High Accuracy Sorting Solution In the world of logistics, increasing number of parcels are being shipped every day across the world. E-commerce is increasingly becoming integral to more and more customers which in turn is forcing courier/logistics companies to improve last mile connectivity to ever more end destinations. With the rise in order volumes, it becomes imperative to prepare your sortation center with the help of a right solution that can sort parcels at higher throughput to a large number of end destinations.  GreyOrange Cross Belt Sorter A high throughput high accuracy sorting solution for a large number of end destinations. It is a contactless sorting which uses electrically actuated carriages to convey and sort parcels directly into bags, totes or chutes at high throughput which increasing productivity per warehouse associate and also increases sorting accuracy. It can also be used to sort items / eaches / cases to order boxes or for store fulfillment, enabling faster and accurate order fulfillment in retail and e-commerce. With sorting throughputs up to 32,000 packets per hour for up to 500 end destinations, logistics companies can achieve their SLA of deliveries with high accuracy at a lower cost per sorting / fulfillment. Pick-Put-to-Light  Directs Picking, Put-away and Sorting Processes  Picking and replenishment processes account for up to 70 percent of operating costs in a warehouse and remain the top priority for warehouse professionals. Industries increasingly rely on innovative solutions as they continue to reduce pick and fill costs and increase worker efficiency and productivity. GreyOrange PPTL Pick-Put-to-Light (PPTL) system is a proprietary technology of GreyOrange that improves operator’s productivity and enhances efficiency. The directed picking, putaway, and sorting processes help operators minimize errors, speed up the cycle and improve order processing accuracy while improving overall productivity.     +MORE

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Geek+

Geek+ Inc.

Geek+ is a Chinese logistics and warehousing robotics developer.  PICKING SYSTEM: Market pressure under the consume upgrading, inventory management of vast of SKUs and unpredicted labor cost have become the common challenges of E-commerce and many retail industries. Geek+ provides a flexible choice for breaking industry bottlenecks.  Geek Picking System realizes Goods-to-Person picking by enabling robots to carry shelves which improve productivity and lower labor cost. The system includes Geek robots, backstage control system, standard picking station and charging station. Application Scope Geek picking system is suitable for multi-SKU, normal-size goods picking operation and operating warehouse could be tens thousands of square meters. The system can be applied in E-commerce, retail, 3PL, medical, clothing, food, daily consumables, manufacturing, automobile, etc.  MOVING SYSTEM:  With the development of manufacturing, the enterprise transformation towards Industry 4.0, the revolution off traditional workshop and the rising management cost become pressing challenges which manufacturing enterprises need to compromise. Geek moving system could effectively increase production flexibility and help enterprises achieve Industry 4.0.  Geek moving system realizes automatic material handling by enabling robots to carry shelf / pallet. This system could effectively increase production flexibility and help enterprises achieve Industry 4.0. The moving system assigns the mission according to the production demands, the robots would automatically complete point-to-point transport, path planning and pick&place shelves, which realize unmanned operation in workshop.  Geek moving system could be applied in many logistics processes of factory manufacturing, including receive and dispatch, transfer, pick and feed of raw material, parts, WIP, semi-finished products, finished products. SORTING SYSTEM:  With the rapid increase of express requirement driven by E-commerce industry, traditional labor sorting mode becomes more and more difficult to meet the sorting efficiency and accuracy, and also brings the problems such as high administrative cost and parcel damaged. However, the traditional sorting devices have poor flexibility and long period of investment return. With the rapid increase of express requirement driven by E-commerce industry, traditional labor sorting mode becomes more and more difficult to meet the sorting efficiency and accuracy, and also brings the problems such as high administrative cost and parcel damaged. However, the traditional sorting devices have poor flexibility and long period of investment return.  Geek moving system could be applied in the sorting step of postal and express industry, meet the requirement of small and medium-sized parcel sorting. +MORE

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Simplista

Simplista

The product listing process: simplified at last. Get products to consumers in a fraction of the time with significant and trackable savings. It’s time to fully digitize your retail operation with Simplista, a cloud-based B2B product listing platform that can radically improve your business. Maximize efficiency.Currently, retail product listing and upkeep is overly time-consuming with inaccuracies and delays that lead to lost revenue and unnecessary costs. By automating product listing and change management processes, Simplista produces efficiencies that impact your bottom line. Automate. Validate. Simplify.Collaboration, speed, and accuracy are the pillars of the Simplista platform. You’ll get product data right the first time and reap the benefits: transformative savings and increased revenues for both retailers and suppliers. A cloud-based platform that's secure.Simplista allows both traditional and digital retailers and their suppliers to collaborate for rapid product intake and upkeep in a secure manner - all in real time. +MORE

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Swisslog Warehouse & Distribution Solutions

Swisslog

Automated storage & retrieval systems to increase efficiency and quality in warehousing  From the traditional high bay warehouse to innovative robot-based storage solutions. Swisslog offers you a wide range of traditional and advanced technologies for automated storage and retrieval of pallets and smaller goods, such as cartons or bins. These fully automated systems boost warehouse quality, flexibility and efficiency. Modular, flexible and software-driven ASRS for maximum efficiency Are you looking for an effective automated storage and retrieval system to overcome your warehousing challenge? Limited space, an awkward warehouse building, increasing inventory or turnover in unusual shapes or sizes can all make it difficult to find the right ASRS solution. Multiple factors need to be considered when choosing the right solution. Automated storage solutions need to be scalable while maximizing space and performance. Staying flexible enough to respond to changing market requirements is also essential, as when new products launch, demand increases and regulations change. Space costs you money! Swisslog always finds the most effective solution with the best price-to-performance ratio, transparent processes, and the greatest flexibility. You can respond to changing business conditions at any time by adjusting capacities when you need to accommodate increasing throughput.  Flexible and scalable transport systems for your automated warehouse  From conveyor systems to innovative automated guided vehicles, Swisslog offers a wide range of traditional and advanced technologies for the transportation of pallets, cartons, bins, trays and even odd-sized loads. These fully automated systems guarantee 100% integration with your warehouse to optimize the flow of materials. Smart transport systems easily adapt to your warehousing needs Looking for an integrated automated transport system to overcome your warehousing challenge?  Choosing the right transportation system doesn’t just depend on the type of products you want to transport. The storage system you want to use, throughput and the flexiblity that is required in your business are all key factors.  At Swisslog we take your unique requirements into account and design the automated transport system that meets your exact needs. Whether it’s an AGV, monorail or conveyor based system, we take the best from our technology portfolio to offer the most flexible and cost-effective solution for your business.  Picking & palletizing solutions that minimize costs  Swisslog’s picking and palletizing solutions are based on proven technology and operational principles. They are customized to meet each customer’s specific needs and designed to adapt to ever-changing requirements. Flexible picking and palletizing for maximum efficiency Picking and palletizing make up to 60% of warehouse operational costs. New technologies are changing boundaries all the time and with robots being able to take over more and more tasks from operators, it is possible to increase throughput in goods-to-person (GTP) picking, for example.  Swisslog always selects the most effective solution for the unique needs of your business with the best price-performance ratio, transparent processes, and greatest flexibility. This allows you to respond to changing business conditions, adjust capacity and increase throughput as needed. Reduce costs and increase productivity with picking and palletizing solutions from Swisslog  SynQ: Modular warehouse management system for optimized logistics processes  SynQ stands for Synchronized Intelligence and is a modular, service-oriented software platformfor warehouse management and material flow orchestration. SynQ gives you the precise functionality you need to optimize your warehouse operations. It literally embeds intelligence in the operation and synchronizes the performance of your automated and manual warehouse equipment in the best possible way. It encompasses warehouse management (WMS), material flow (MFC/WCS), and automation control systems (ACS) functionality, along with an array of business intelligence tools to boost your warehouse performance. SynQ will help your company to embrace the era of digitalization and stay ahead of your competition. +MORE

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