Orient. Plan. Execute

March 14, 2024 | By RetailME Bureau

Rui Saraiva, VP Sales EMEA South and MENAT for RELEX

RELEX specialises in artificial intelligence (AI)-powered unified retail and supply chain planning platform that aligns and optimises demand, merchandising, supply chain, operations and production planning for retailers, wholesalers and consumer goods brands. Leveraging advanced algorithms and machine learning techniques, RELEX analyses historical sales data, market trends and local factors such as events and weather to generate highly accurate demand forecasts. The suite of solutions includes inventory management, replenishment and allocation, merchandising and operations optimisation, ensuring businesses maintain the right products in the right quantities at the right locations to meet customer demand. This comprehensive approach leads to heightened customer satisfaction and increased profitability.

In an exclusive Q&A with IMAGES RetailME Rui Saraiva, VP Sales EMEA South and MENAT for RELEX explained the concept of retail planning.

How important is retail planning? As compared to the global market how advanced or ready is the MENA region when it comes to retail planning?

Many retailers in the MENA region are adopting advanced planning solutions to help them make better decisions and improve their overall performance. These solutions include advanced analytics, machine learning and AI, which can help retailers to better understand customer behaviour, optimise inventory levels and improve supply chain efficiency. Overall, while the MENA region may still have some catching up to do in terms of retail planning, there is a growing recognition of its importance and a willingness to invest in the necessary tools and technologies to improve planning capabilities.

How can retail planning help reduce supply chain disruptions on the supplier side?

Retail planning can help reduce supply chain disruptions on the supplier side in several ways:

  • Improved demand forecasting: By accurately forecasting demand, retailers can provide suppliers with more accurate order quantities and lead times, reducing the risk of overproduction or stockouts.
  • Collaborative planning: Retailers can work closely with suppliers to plan production schedules and inventory levels, ensuring that suppliers have the necessary resources to meet demand.
  • Inventory optimisation: By optimising inventory levels, retailers can have the right quantities where needed, thus reducing stockouts, which can disrupt the supply chain.
  • Efficient replenishment: Retailers can use automated replenishment systems to ensure that suppliers receive timely and accurate orders, reducing the risk of delays and disruptions in warehouses and production.
  • Risk management: Retailers can develop contingency plans and risk management strategies such as alternative sourcing options or safety stock levels. Overall, effective retail planning not only reduces supply chain disruptions on the whole value chain, but also increases profitability and sales.

Are there any future trends in this sector and market that you would like to highlight?

Middle East retailers have the opportunity to directly adopt the below best practices and trends.

Increased focus on sustainability: Consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious, and retailers are responding by prioritising sustainability in their supply chain planning. This includes waste reduction, cutting touch of products, emissions control, simulation of alternative sourcing and efficient transportation with the help of machine learning. RELEX can support all these strategies.

Greater adoption of AI and machine learning: Together with sustainability, AI and machine learning are another strong focus for the next decade. Retailers are increasingly turning to this technology to plan better, sell more and waste less through improved supply chain planning. The specificities of the region with large conglomerates, strong dependencies on import, large distance between various consumption points have accelerated all sort of “any-channel” consumption. This requires a unified approach to supply chain planning, which is RELEX philosophy.

What about strategy for promotion? How do you work to solve this?

At RELEX, we consider promotions planning as one of the most important profitability levers for retailers. Our approach covers:

  • Promotional forecasting: We leverage historical data to predict the impact of promotions on demand, enabling retailers to plan inventory and staffing needs more effectively.
  • Promotion optimisation: Using data and analytics, we determine the optimal promotion strategy, including timing, duration and discount levels to maximise sales and profitability.
  • Promotion planning: We assist in developing a comprehensive plan for promotions, including product selection, timing and coordination with suppliers and stakeholders.
  • Pricing optimisation: We give retailers a competitive advantage through optimised price recommendations that leverage predictive analytics and price elasticity models. This enables informed decision-making and improved collaboration across teams.

Our promotional solutions empower retailers to make data driven decisions and optimise their promotional strategies, ultimately driving sales and profitability.

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