Timely and adequate auto replenishment is one of the most important elements of an effective inventory management system in retail. Insufficient fullness of the “depth” or “width” of the shelf will certainly affect the level of product availability and the growth of lost sales. However, excess inventory levels can lead to overstocks, write-offs, dead stocks, and reduced turnover. The above factors are often the result of the so-called human factor, the mistakes of managers or suppliers, and invariably lead to loss of profit. That is why, in recent years, more and more retailers prefer to automate the replenishment process using artificial intelligence.
Automatic replenishment is a comprehensive feature that provides the complete process for ordering goods to a retail outlet or a distribution center without manual intervention.
An implementation of the high-quality auto-order software will invariably lead to a number of positive effects:
- increased sales;
- improved turnover;
- reduced staff costs;
- increased % of goods availability;
- reduced excess stock / over stock.
When choosing the auto-replenishment solution, a retailer should pay attention to the following features of the system:
- Prompt response to changes in demand. The system should instantly respond to the demand change dynamics and adjust the parameters for auto-order, while excluding atypical fluctuations from the calculations.
- Significant reduction in labor costs. The qualitative system automates up to 90% of all operations, even with an ever-increasing number of orders, allowing the management team to focus on more strategic tasks.
- Convenient and informative interface. Diving into the complex logic of inventory management processes, many companies cannot translate this into a form that is understandable and convenient for the client. The winners are those systems that are able to offer the most “user-friendly” solution for quick tracking of the indicators and responding to the current situation.
- Control and reporting. The qualitative system helps not only analyze all the necessary inventory management metrics, but also notifies you in time about upcoming problems.
- Implementation timeline. Depending on the content, technical features or other factors, different systems may have different implementation and integration periods: from several months to two years or more.
- Successful product implementation cases. Analyzing all of the above factors, one should not neglect the real experience of similar companies that have already implemented this product. Analysis of feedback and reviews, experience exchange with colleagues on the market and communication with provider representatives will be useful sources of information for making the final decision.
So, we bring to your attention an overview of the five most popular cloud solutions in 2022 with the function of automatic replenishment in retail.
Automated Replenishment - Leafio Inventory Optimization
LEAFIO Inventory Optimization is the true autopilot for inventory management, with automated replenishment as one of the core features. LEAFIO Platform provides a complete ordering process at all levels of the supply chain without manual intervention. Cloud SaaS solution is equipped with a forecasting module (demand forecasting) and considers atypical and seasonal fluctuations of demand. By using unique algorithms, the system successfully manages various categories of goods, including fresh and ultra-fresh, and also considers the specifics of goods supply for multi-level replenishment and stock optimization. Operational and strategic dashboards are the functional tools for the manager's daily work, and the powerful BI module with more than 40 analytical reports will point a retailer to the bottlenecks in inventory management.
LEAFIO has been implementing cloud solutions for retail for more than ten years and, accumulating inside their solutions the experience of integration and exploitation for more than 160 companies around the world.
The unique feature of LEAFIO is its culture of interaction with clients, namely:
- The company demonstrates a flexible approach at all stages of interaction: from sales approach, implementation and subsequent product consulting, to set up additional options for the needs of a particular business.
- To ensure a quick economic effect for the client, the implementation team is tied directly to the financial result from the product implementation.
- Conducting quarterly meetings with the customers after product implementation not only provides ongoing support and assistance in solving the customer's current problems, but also allows familiarizing them with quarterly updates.
- When buying this product, the client acquires not just the high-quality software but also the long-term partnership and consulting, since the very business model of purchasing the cloud solution with a monthly subscription determines the developer's constant interest in making his product bringing maximum economic benefit to the client.
Leafio Inventory Optimization solution covers all the necessary components of the inventory management process, leaving no “white spots” in the retail business processes. The implementation of this solution takes about 6 months. Unlike the bulky and clumsy systems built in previous decades, the LEAFIO is incredibly flexible and immediately gives a visible economic effect, which is enthusiastically noted by the users who have switched to this software from other similar solutions. Despite the highly intelligent process logic “under the hood”, the system interface is convenient and intuitive. Cloud solution Leafio Inventory Optimization is suitable for retail businesses of any size and an unlimited number of users. The price of the product depends on the number of warehouses, stores and the size of the assortment of a particular retailer and is an excellent example of the ratio of wide functionality for a reasonable price, which favorably distinguishes the product from similar solutions on the market.
Automatic replenishment - Blue Yonder
Blue Yonder Inventory Planning and Management module also provides opportunities for efficient and timely automatic replenishment of stocks. This tool has algorithms to generate replenishment plans automatically based on key metrics including sales history, on-hand stock, safety stock requirements and customer orders.
The company Blue Yonder (formerly known as JDA Software) has been on the market since 1985. The Luminate platform from Blue Yonder is a comprehensive offer for goods forecasting and replenishment in retail.
A number of the system’s features ensure the efficient execution of the replenishment function:
- Order planning accuracy is ensured through dynamic master planning, root cause analysis and “what if” probabilistic analysis.
- The dynamic segmentation module creates a chain of operations to meet specific customer requirements by automatically clustering them by product, location, and specific purchasing requirements.
- The platform also assists vendor planners in delivering differentiated levels of service based on customer value and business parameters.
In general, the users respond positively to the platform, noting the flexibility of customizing and building libraries to get started. After all, that is possible to learn programming even for managers with a little experience via step-by-step help and tutorials. However, such mentioning is of rather high cost. The terms of software implementation can vary from 1 year to 2 or more. Despite the fact that the platform is designed for both small and large businesses, due to its cost and the complexity of the initial familiarization, the product is more accessible for enterprise corporations. (capterra.com)
Automatic replenishment system - Logility Platform
The Logility Platform is also equipped with the dynamic allocation algorithm to provide standard automatic replenishment system functionality. This means that retailers that operate with several multi-distribution centers can automatically distribute and restock each store or channel from any combination of distribution centers to increase inventory speed and maintain each location's ability to meet financial targets.
Founded in 1996, Logility is a subsidiary of American Software. Logility Platform is the cloud solution for multi-stage inventory optimization (MEIO), designed to constrain the increase in stock at all stages and points in the supply chain.
This system allows you to:
- Rate the distribution network and prioritize replenishment channels based on business rules. This is relevant when a product is not available from a predetermined source and the outlet must either wait for the distribution center to restock or manually intervene in analytics to speed up the process.
- Automatically rebalance and prioritize the distribution of goods to the right stores and warehouses without the need for manual intervention, which allows you to avoid shortages at some outlets and surpluses at others.
Despite the fact that on softwareadvice.com you can find a lot of positive feedback about the Logility, for example, about the ease of use of the system and the high level of service staff, some users still noted a number of shortcomings. They include a relatively long period of implementation of the system and difficulties in integrating with some databases. In some cases, the implementation took a little less than a year, in others - up to two years.
At the same time, it is noted that the optimal number of users for the system is from 2 to 500, which makes it an acceptable solution for both small and large companies.
Inventory replenishment software - Kinaxis RapidResponse
The company was registered in 1995. The Kinaxis Rapid Response cloud solution, delivered as a set of customizable applications, is the solution that helps large enterprises in planning at all levels of the supply chain. The Kinaxis inventory replenishment software also has a number of useful features that increases the accuracy of orders for automatic replenishment:
- The ability to configure policy settings for auto-order. If necessary, the manager can adjust the configuration of existing settings.
- Generation of recommendations on the safety stock, which includes stock monitoring and the ability to select the optimal parameters from those proposed for the formation of an auto order.
- The ability to experiment and simulate scenarios of various unforeseen situations with suppliers, demand surges, critical levels of key indicators, etc. without the risk of loss of profit.
All Rapid Response from Kinaxis is not only a mobile tool for automating replenishment, but also a simulator for modeling and building efficient supply chains, as noted by some capterra.com users.
At the same time, a significant part of the users names such negative manifestations of the product as the periodic occurrence of unforeseen errors in the application, as well as difficulties in integrating with other systems. And this is along with the high cost of both the product itself and the accompanying user training (softwareadvice.com).
The software is recommended for medium and large companies with 1000+ users.
Auto-replenishment - Solvoyo
Founded in 2005, Solvoyo offers a cloud-based end-to-end planning and analytics platform powered by machine learning. Like previous software solutions, the Solvoyo Suit has all the basic elements of an auto-replenishment system. At the same time, the developers themselves highlight the number of features of their product:
- Real-time response. The cloud engine detects significant changes in demand, supply, lead times, and user-friendly dashboards provide instant visibility of the issues.
- Machine learning and advanced analytics: Forecasts, safety stocks, replenishment recommendations automatically adjust to changing demand and operational constraints so purchasing team can focus on strategy development.
- The platform provides a digital twin for the entire supply chain and supports “what-if” analysis to evaluate different supplier options, manufacturing sites or delivery schedules.
- The system automates auto-order decisions by providing prescriptive actions such as replenishment plans, production schedules and pricing actions in response to the current conditions.
This platform from Solvoyo is designed for both retailers and manufacturers and wholesale distributors. In general, the users positively evaluate the analytical unit and the clear interface of the system with a sufficient number of dashboards. Among the shortcomings, it is often noted that as the software solution for end-to-end planning, the Solvoyo Suite does not have the tools for checking and managing stock reserves. In addition, some users did not rate the price-quality ratio of the product high enough (4 out of 5 on capterra.com). The system is designed for a number of users from 1 to 1000+, which makes it a suitable solution for companies of different sizes.
Most cloud-based forecasting and auto replenishment solutions can provide all of the core features, but the breadth and depth of these features can vary. Important selection factors are the acceptable price-quality ratio for the business, the timing of product implementation, as well as the possibility of after-sales support from the provider and the regular release of updates. For the retailer, it is important to choose the system that will be most suitable for his company or easily adapt to the specifics of the business without excessive costs. In addition, that is important to consider the possibilities for scaling the system, as well as its integration with programs and resources already existing in the company. The replenishment system should fit the company, not the company adapt to the system.