The global pandemic has crippled supply chains and left retailers and consumer goods manufacturers out of step with consumer demand.
Analytics company SAS offers these companies help with Retail & CPG Cloud Analytics Quickstart, a 90-day fee-waived portfolio of supply chain analytics software and services to counter COVID-19 disruptions and improve demand planning to achieve optimal stock and service levels. SAS will launch a standard configuration of the offering in the Microsoft Azure cloud environment.
Early success for Russian online grocer
“With so much uncertainty in retail due to COVID-19, consumers want to be sure their favourite retailers have the items they need in stock when they are ready to buy,” said Mikhail Tolokonnikov, Chief Commercial Officer with Utkonos, a leading Russian online grocery chain.
“Product out-of-stock is a huge problem for retailers,” Tolokonnikov continued. “For online retail companies, such as Utkonos, this leads to a decrease in customer satisfaction, increased delivery acceptance refusals and, ultimately, an increase in customer churn rate. Investigations into how we could solve this business challenge attracted Utkonos to SAS’ intelligent product substitution solution. In addition, the fact that it could be delivered through a ‘quick start’ program, to deliver business results rapidly, was very appealing and above all necessary.”
Tolokonnikov said Utkonos users appreciate the flexibility, ease of use and sophisticated depth of SAS. They also appreciate the solution’s discovery of relevant product substitution combinations.
He anticipates revenue and profit margin increases of up to 0.8% and order fulfilment increases of up to 75% as the company deploys SAS solutions across all product assortments. With margins razor-thin in online retailing, these gains are significant.
“We automated the process, and now we can solve our out-of-stock problem with the help of innovative and intelligent solutions from SAS,” Tolokonnikov said. “This has been especially important from the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic through to the recovery period.”
Bundle of advanced analytics software
In addition to intelligent product substitution, the Retail & CPG Cloud Analytics Quickstart offering also provides users access to SAS Viya, SAS Visual Forecasting, SAS Intelligent Planning Suite, SAS Intelligent Decisioning, and SAS Visual Data Mining and Machine Learning. Not all customers will use the same components or functions, but every customer will have access to all analytics, tools and solutions.
Once the 90-day period expires, customers will be able to license the components they need. For existing SAS customers, they can experiment risk-free with SAS Intelligent Planning Suite in the cloud to augment their current SAS licenses. For companies new to SAS, this prebuilt demand planning and forecasting offering provides an easy introduction to powerful analytics at a critical time.
Retail & CPG Cloud Analytics Quickstart automates data connectors that provide access to external data sources containing COVID-19 immunological, stringency and mobility data and events. This real-time information, combined with sales and inventory data, retunes forecast models for rapid inventory adjustments.
“Businesses which apply advanced analytics in their post-pandemic recovery plans will set themselves apart from the rest in overcoming the economic disruption of COVID-19,” said Andrew Fowkes, Head of Retail Centre of Excellence, SAS UK & Ireland. “Making intelligent decisions in line with evolving demand forecasts is just one area where the use of SAS Analytics in the Microsoft Azure cloud environment can help businesses to drive growth. Operational agility proved pivotal during the crisis and in the return to normality, it will be fundamental that new models reflect the irreversible changes to consumer behaviour ushered in by the pandemic.”