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Waitrose Invests in Blue Yonder’s Industry Leading Demand Forecasting Capability to Further Improve Customer Satisfaction

Waitrose is extending its collaboration with Blue Yonder with the addition of the supply chain solution provider’s industry-leading forecasting capability.

The new move will mark the first significant introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) into Waitrose’s forecasting – and is designed to improve the already high levels of availability across the retailer’s stores.

Rather than relying on historical sales data and human intuition, the AI forecasting capability – part of Blue Yonder Demand Planning – focuses on customer behaviour and analyses ‘why’ customers bought what they did rather than just ‘what’ they bought.

The capability understands and learns from the trading environment to provide a better forecast based on customer behaviour. For example, it will learn how customers responded to a variety of influences, including weather variations, major sporting and cultural events, and promotions.

The upgrade is part of a significant investment in technology across Waitrose’s supply chain and is designed to improve availability, which already stands at record levels.

It is also expected to:

  • Improve customer satisfaction score by increasing on-shelf availability and refocusing store Partners from manual ordering to more strategic customer-oriented tasks.
  • Leverage AI capabilities to ingest and analyse massive volumes of data without overwhelming users.
  • Assess risks by weighing different forecasting outcomes.
  • Determine stock volumes dynamically to minimise waste.
  • Respond to demand fluctuations automatically, quickly and accurately.

Alison Maffin, Waitrose Supply Chain Director, said: “Whether we are planning for a major sporting final or the first cold snap of the winter, there can be multiple factors affecting what our customers buy. The Blue Yonder solution will learn from previous experience and help us predict this more accurately so we can be confident we have the stock our customers want. This will allow us to produce a much more accurate forecast for our suppliers and logistics partners, but will also result in less wastage and better availability for our customers.’’

Gael Ramaen, Corporate Vice President, Retail, EMEA, Blue Yonder, said: “A better forecast is crucial for retailers, and we are thrilled and proud to support Waitrose with their goals of enhancing customer experience and meeting sustainability goals. This builds on the already successful deployment of Blue Yonder Fulfilment and Warehouse Management solutions used within their organisation.”

Additional Resources:

About the John Lewis Partnership

The John Lewis Partnership owns and operates two of Britain's best-loved retail brands - John Lewis and Waitrose. Started as a radical experiment over a century ago, the Partnership is now the largest employee-owned business in the UK, with over 74,000 employees who are all Partners in the business. The Partnership is purpose-driven, existing to create a fairer and more sustainable future for our Partners, customers, suppliers and communities. Our Purpose not only inspires our principles, drives our decisions and acts as our guide to be a force for good, it steers us to do things differently and better - all in service of creating a happier world for everyone and everything we touch. https://www.johnlewispartnership.co.uk/

About Waitrose

Waitrose & Partners has 331 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including 59 convenience branches, 27 shops at Welcome Break locations, and Waitrose.com - its fast-growing online shopping business, consistently rated highly by independent research. The retailer combines the convenience of a supermarket with the expertise and service of a specialist shop - dedicated to offering quality food that has been responsibly sourced, combined with high standards of customer service. As part of an employee-owned business, all Partners have a say in how the business is run. https://www.waitrose.com/

About Blue Yonder

Blue Yonder is the world leader in digital supply chain transformation. Global retailers, manufacturers and logistics providers leverage Blue Yonder to optimize their supply chains from planning through fulfillment, delivery and returns. Blue Yonder’s AI-embedded, interoperable supply chain solutions are connected end-to-end via a unified platform and data cloud, enabling businesses to collaborate in real time across functions, which supports more agile decision-making, improved customer satisfaction, profitable growth, and more resilient, sustainable supply chains. Blue Yonder - Fulfill your Potential blueyonder.com

“Blue Yonder” is a trademark or registered trademark of Blue Yonder Group, Inc. Any trade, product or service name referenced in this document using the name “Blue Yonder” is a trademark and/or property of Blue Yonder Group, Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks, registered trademarks or service marks of the companies with which they are associated.

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