New cognitive solution for retail and consumer goods

IBM Metro Pulse

Photo: iStockphoto

The digital transformation co-innovation collaboration between IBM and SAP formed last year has yielded its first industry-based solution, designed to help the retail and consumer packaged goods industries to increase profitability and improve customer experience.

The solution uses near real-time data to improve planning and execution in the physical store. Data sources such as IBM’s Metro Pulse, which uses cognitive services to provide hyperlocal information into weather, events, traffic and demographics, flow through SAP Cloud Platform to provide immediately actionable insights.

During trials of IBM Metro Pulse cognitive technology across more than 100 stores in multiple American markets, the solution improved forecasting accuracy of volatile, hard-to-forecast products by 75 per cent.

For example, a New York City sales operation manager for a beverage company trying to forecast sales at one of her stores along the running route, could incorporate information on traffic flows at different points, as well as the impact the weather forecast might have on demand. This will allow much more accurate predictions of spikes in demand at a store level. The sales operations manager can then create tasks and suggested orders for sales representatives, who can discuss wth store managers how to make the appropriate adjustments to maximise incremental sales for both parties.

“Through this exciting collaboration between SAP and IBM, retailers and consumer products companies today can respond with speed, precision and confidence to locally relevant events. SAP S/4HANA includes capabilities to enable users to execute end-to-end business processes in ways that other systems cannot,” said Lori Mitchell-Keller, global general manager, Consumer Industries at SAP.

SAP and IBM have several more industry-specific solutions in development, as well as SAP Model Company services, a prepackaged, ready-to-use, end-to-end reference solution that can be customised to meet specific line-of-business and industry needs.

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