No, I am not writing about Lieutenant Commander Data from Star Trek… but is this maybe where the future will bring us? New technologies around AI and Machine Learning are developing so fast that maybe in a couple of years things will be possible where we have not dreamt of.
But let’s talk about more tangible things: Data is something all retailers possess already today in large quantities – but how can you use them in the most efficient way? There is an interesting article in Bloomberg titled Here’s a Retail Job That’s Still in High Demand: Retail Scientiest that talks more about it.
There is huge demand for educated people to help retailers getting the right conclusions out of this treasure which many people think of as being the most valuable resource: As Clive Humby, UK Mathemetician and architect of Tesco’s Clubcard, said in 2006 “Data is the new oil. It’s valuable, but if unrefined it cannot really be used. It has to be changed into gas, plastic, chemicals, etc to create a valuable entity that drives profitable activity; so must data be broken down, analyzed for it to have value”.
But how can you start with this? According to the Bloomberg post “‘even with the rise of Amazon.com Inc., U.S. consumers still make about 85 percent of their purchases at physical stores.'” That’s an impressive number which is true even more for other countries.
What this also means is that having efficient replenishment processes is still key to staying competitive, and in stores, there is still huge potential for optimization. Predicting consumer demand and using this information in store replenishment, synchronizing further levels and channels in your supply chain is proven to result in inventory savings as well as higher on-shelf availability. By using advanced forecasting algorithms in solutions such as SAP Forecasting and Replenishment and SAP Unified Demand Forecast that learn from data, this task is not tied to a data scientist but can be used right away. Just try! Let’s be friends…