Technology Record - Issue 30: Autumn 2023

179 Blue Yonder's Microsoft Azurepowered Luminate Platform helps Asda to optimise inventory to ensure on-shelf availability and enable it to fulfil click-andcollect orders RETAIL & CG in new technologies to ensure it can continue serving customers consistently, despite the unprecedented geopolitical and macroeconomic headwinds the industry is facing. “Issues such as widespread financial crises, environmental challenges, demand fluctuation, delivery delays, and labour, materials and product shortages are making it increasingly difficult to deliver seamless shopping experiences,” says Felice Miller, business strategy leader for retail and CG at Microsoft. Simultaneously, digitally savvy consumers are driving a retail revolution that is making the path to purchase significantly more complex. “People now expect smooth shopping experiences across multiple channels, as well as services such as same-day delivery, kerbside pickup, and faster and easier returns,” explains Miller. “And, as customers now prioritise in-stock availability and convenient shopping experiences over loyalty to a brand, retailers and CG companies must rapidly reinvent their operating models to remain competitive and profitable.” According to Miller, they must shift from a reactive to a proactive operating model that prioritises long-term planning and empowers them to rapidly adapt processes to overcome predicted supply chain disruptions and accommodate fast-changing consumer demands. “Retailers and CG companies need to be able to anticipate how market trends and customers’ demands will evolve and also understand how geopolitical, macroeconomic and other external factors will impact their ability to deliver the right product to the right place at the right time,” she says. “By doing this, they can accurately forecast product demand to optimise inventory and minimise issues like overstocking or stockouts, while increasing on-time order fulfilment in every sales channel.” To move to this predictive model, retailers and CG companies need to capture and analyse