Technology Record - Issue 30: Autumn 2023

181 RETAIL & CG Yonder provides the most extensive end-toend, customer-centric supply chain solutions, allowing retailers, manufacturers and logistics providers to seamlessly predict, pivot, and fulfill customer demand.” Another partner is SAP. “It is empowering retailers to drive business transformation by migrating their supply chains to Azure,” says Miller. “Meanwhile, SAS has built an integrated analytics platform on Azure to provide retailers with forecasting tools so they can respond faster to changing demand and improve product availability in all sales channels. Plus, uses our AI technology to deliver AI-driven weather predictions and intelligence solutions for optimising logistics planning. And CH Robinson provides organisations with visibility and track and trace capabilities.” Another notable example is o9 Solutions, which has built an AI-powered platform that runs on Microsoft Azure and uses data analytics, machine learning, graph-based enterprise modelling, advanced algorithms for forecasting and supply chain, scenario and revenue planning. “o9’s ‘digital brain’ helps our customers to transform supply chain revenue, profit and loss planning, and decision-making,” says Miller. “For example, o9’s platform is enabling a multinational athletic apparel and footwear retailer to automate demand forecasting and quickly rebalance inventory in response to changes and market volatility. Not only has this improved forecast accuracy for pre- and in-season products in markets across the globe, but it has also contributed to the brand’s sustainability goals by reducing inventory and excess waste.” Aera Technology is also collaborating with Microsoft to enable CG companies to decrease waste, spoilage and stockouts. “It has built a decision intelligence platform on Azure to deliver AI-powered, data-driven decisions for inventory, order fulfilment and more at scale,” says Miller. “Similarly, Microsoft technology supports Upshop’s AI-driven platform, which provides accurate demand forecasts to fresh produce retailers to optimise inventory and thereby reduce food waste.” Both Microsoft and its partners are exploring how to leverage generative AI technology to help customers unlock the full potential of their supply chains. For example, Microsoft has introduced AI-powered Copilot support for procurement in the Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management platform to empower users to efficiently manage and assess changes to purchase orders on a large scale. The tool offers a concise overview of purchase order modifications as well as an insight into the potential downstream impact of these changes. Copilot also uses the Text-davinci-003 generative AI model to create natural language summaries of these modifications, making it easy for procurement teams to understand and communicate their implications through emails and Teams conversations. “In this new era of AI and at an unprecedented inflection point for technology and supply chain, Microsoft is making important investments to help enable supply chains team members be more productive,” says Miller. “Copilot’s AI-driven capabilities optimise the procurement process, improves decision-making and enhances communication between stakeholders, ultimately leading to a more agile and responsive supply chain. “These are just some of the many examples showing how data, AI and the cloud are empowering retailers and CG companies to go beyond simply optimising their existing processes to fundamentally transform the way they manage supply chains and capitalise new opportunities to further improve both operations and the customer experience,” says Miller. Retailers are exploring how digital technologies can help them to introduce new services such as same-day deliveries Photo: iStock/rawpixel