News Briefs

03/29/2022

Snowflake Expands AWS Relationship with Demand Forecasting Improvements

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Amazon Web Services logo

Data cloud company Snowflake is expanding its relationship with Amazon Web Services (AWS), to improve demand forecasting and delivery for the retail and CPG industries. 

Customers will now be able to natively access Amazon purchase order (PO) data and Amazon Forecast generated insights from Snowflake’s Retail Data Cloud to better identify variances in product demand and plan for manufacturing and delivery lead times. 

Through this technology, users can leverage brand-level and fulfillment center-level forecasts, and access new data from third-party data providers within the Retail Data Cloud, from Snowflake’s single, integrated platform. 

[Read more: Five Innovations to Improve CPG & Retailer Collaboration in 2022]

Capabilities include the following:

  • Import Amazon PO data into Snowflake to better access, govern, and share data seamlessly across the organization.
  • Improve forecast accuracy using machine learning models from Amazon Forecast to create accurate time-series forecasts to predict demand for variable vendor purchase orders weeks ahead of time.
  • Track product weight or dimension changes to ensure they adhere to manufacturer standards.
  • Improve on-time in-full (OTIF) metrics to enhance organic ranking on Amazon.com, reduce chargeback expenses, and help ensure products are in-stock for consumers to buy.
  • Match correct probabilistic forecasts with SKU sales velocity to help ensure key products will stay in stock and improve revenue.

Rosemary Hua, global head of retail and CPG at Snowflake, said that today’s retail and CPG companies are looking for accurate, efficient, and timely tech solutions that positively impact their bottom lines.

“Amazon.com has revolutionized how retail and CPG businesses sell and deliver to consumers and, similarly, Snowflake has had a profound impact on empowering businesses to optimize their operations and seamlessly collaborate on data,” she added. “Together, Snowflake and AWS can streamline data-driven inventory management for items sold on Amazon.

This article was first published on the site of sister publication, CGT. 

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03/28/2022

Zebra Introduces New Purpose-Built Offerings for Digitizing and Automating Fulfillment

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a woman standing in a room

Zebra Technologies Corporation is introducing its first all-in-one Android-based wearable computer, the new WS50, and its first RFID sled designed for industrial usage, the RFD90.

In addition, Zebra is also showcasing its recently announced Fetch FlexShelf autonomous mobile robot (AMR) solution, as well as several other in-booth demos focused on optimizing the fulfillment process and streamlining workflows, at MODEX 2022.

Zebra’sWS50 Android wearable computer is half the size of traditional wearables and includes a small display, WiFi and an imager or camera, eliminating the need for multiple devices supporting hands-free workflows, such as picking, sorting, loading, and put away. With powerful data capture capabilities and an integrated speaker and microphone, the WS50 supports task management and communication in warehouse, manufacturing, and retail environments. With the option of three different wearable styles including back of hand, wrist, or on the fingers, the ergonomic WS50 wearable computer provides users with the flexibility they need that’s right for the job.

Zebra’s new RFD90 RFID sled offers industrial-grade IP65 and 67 sealing and 6-foot drop specifications to concrete, making it ideal for use in extreme weather and tough environments. The RFD90 sled supports packaging and baggage tracking, cycle counting, cold chain, and item locating as well as raw materials inventory, work in progress (WIP) tracking, and returnable transport object (RTO) tracking. Featuring a long-lasting battery for lengthier shifts and industry-leading read rates, the RFD90 optimizes workflows and reduces task completion time resulting in greater productivity and a better user experience.

At MODEX 2022, Zebra will also be showcasing its recently announced fulfillment solution, featuring dynamic orchestration of equipped workers augmented by the latest FlexShelf series of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), including the FlexGuide and RollerTop Guide. Both AMRs are purpose-built for maximizing pick productivity in e-commerce and wholesale operations where speed and accuracy are critical to meeting the increasing demand of customers. New FetchCore fulfillment software optimizes the human workforce and robot fleet, while intelligent safety features leveraging cloud-based machine learning algorithms help front-line workers, robots, and even forklifts work safely side-by-side.

In April 2022, Zebra will launch a new specialization track in its award-winning PartnerConnect program for experienced mobile robotics partners. Zebra’s Mobile Robotics specialization program will feature partners with deep mobile robotics, manufacturing, and warehouse expertise to provide businesses with the best possible automation solution.

“The global pandemic created exponential growth in the industrial automation sector as businesses worked to scale their operations and stay on time with shipping demands, all while addressing labor shortages and high turnover rates,” said Mark Wheeler, director of Supply Chain Solutions, Zebra Technologies. “Zebra’s solutions help businesses confidently accelerate their automation efforts through a single vendor, helping them address needs ranging from the movement of pallets from trucks to put-away locations, to the movement of pickers and cobots in diverse picking environments. By addressing these needs, companies are seeing increased productivity and worker satisfaction, reduced costs, and improved safety.”

Zebra executives and customers will also participate in three speaking sessions on Monday, March 28 and Tuesday, March 29 including The Dynamic Supply Chain: Intelligence at Every NodeHow the Cloud is a Change Agent for Warehouse Robotics, and Take your pick: order, batch, case, or pallet picking using AMRs.

03/28/2022

The Honest Company Launches One-Click Checkout

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Honest company website

The Honest Company has updated its e-commerce site, now allowing consumers to check out with one click. 

Using technology from online checkout company Fast, the Honest Company is providing consumers with the ability to purchase its products directly from online articles, display ads, emails, and QR codes via one step. The partnership was announced during ShopTalk, and will allow Honest consumers to quickly replenish their products by inputting their payment and shipping information once. 

Honest will also be adding QR codes to its product packaging to allow consumers to more easily reorder their preferred items. 

Fast Checkout is directly embedded on product detail pages on the company’s website, allowing buyers to bypass the shopping cart and subsequent checkout flow. If consumers wish to make additional purchases, they will have an opportunity to do so during the Fast Checkout process. These items are added to the original order, eliminating packaging waste and extra shipping costs. 

Pete Gerstberger, chief digital and strategy officer at The Honest Company, said that the company is evolving to meet the needs and preferences of its consumers. 

[Related: Pete Gerstberger Named Chief Digital & Strategy Officer at The Honest Company]

"Our goal every day is to make it as easy as possible for consumers to discover and purchase our products, while delivering the experience they know and expect from us,” he added. “By implementing Fast's one-click checkout, we're providing consumers another way to shop with us at the click of a button, no matter where they are."

Domm Holland, co-founder and CEO at Fast, said the tech upgrade makes it easier for the Honest Company consumers to order and reorder products, whether via the e-commerce store or a QR scan. 

This article first appeared on the site of sister publication CGT. 

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03/28/2022

Giant Eagle Taps IoT to Boost Food Safety

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giant eagle

Giant Eagle, Inc. has expanded its partnership with SmartSense by Digi, part of Digi International, provider of Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity solutions.

SmartSense protects Giant Eagle’s 215 pharmacies and provides digital task management for its 175 grocery properties and 92 convenience stores. With the latest phase of IoT deployment including 32,000 new SmartSense digital temperature monitoring devices to remotely, automatically and continuously monitor its critical food assets, Giant Eagle reaffirms its commitment to providing customers with the highest levels of food safety and quality.

“We have been continually impressed with SmartSense’s innovative and intelligent solutions, which have allowed us to strengthen our unwavering commitment to maintaining the highest levels of food safety for the communities we serve,” said Giant Eagle VP of risk and chief compliance officer, Vic Vercammen. “Specifically, capturing detailed data insights and prescriptive analytics via SmartSense’s advanced technologies will enhance our team members’ ability to monitor product freshness in real time.”

“We are proud to serve as an IoT partner for Giant Eagle,” says SmartSense president Guy Yehiav. “Our experience, easily solving compliance requirements of pharmacy and healthcare, empowers us to keep providing critical solutions for food safety and equipment optimization. With paper and manual checks a thing of the past, we help customers such as Giant Eagle advance their operations and move from physical logs to digital insights that inform their teams on the ground, with efficiency and effectiveness. We work with customers over the long-term—evolving and developing prescriptive analytics from our scalable systems that distill operational data into clear actions that improve safety, quality and sustainability.”

Founded in 1931, Giant Eagle is one of the nation’s largest food retailers and distributors, with approximately $10 billion in annual sales. Recognizing the competitive and cost-saving advantage of utilizing digital technology, its walk-ins, chillers and refrigerators across all applicable supermarkets now include the SmartSense system which, installing in minutes, combines wireless sensors, food probes, digital checklists and remote monitoring software and analytics tools. All features and functions are accessible via a single compliance monitoring dashboard and mobile app to give a holistic view of operations at every level. The results are actionable insights that drive quality control, employee productivity and food safety compliance.

03/28/2022

Kroger Co Reimagining Shopping Experience with AI Applications

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Kroger's store front

Nationwide grocer Kroger Co,. is looking to build out its shopping experience, leveraging AI in order to improve shipping logistics and expand freshness capabilities. 

In order to do so, the company has tapped NVIDIA, which will utilize digital twin simulations — virtual models that reflect store layouts and other operations — to build an AI lab and demonstration center at Kroger’s Cincinnati-based headquarters.

[Read more: Walmart, Kroger Choose Locations for New Fulfillment Facilities in 2022]

Kroger will be using several platforms — including NVIDIA DGX™ A100 systems, NVIDIA InfiniBand networking, and NVIDIA RTX™ workstations — in order to gain insights across the company’s 2,800 stores. 

Through this tech, Kroger can identify early indicators of deteriorating freshness using computer vision and analytics, leverage dynamic routing for last-mile delivery to bolster freshness efforts, and optimize store efficiency and processes with digital twin store simulation.

“Our collaboration with NVIDIA supports Kroger’s ‘Fresh for Everyone’ commitment,” said Wesley Rhodes, vice president of technology transformation and research and development at Kroger. “We look forward to learning more about how AI and data analytics will further our journey to provide our customers with anything, anytime, anywhere.”

Azita Martin, vice president and general manager of Retail at NVIDIA, said that by leveraging AI, shoppers gain a more personalized experience, both in physical stores and online. 

Several grocery brands have jumped on digital and sustainability initiatives in order to improve freshness and fortify the consumer experience. According to RIS News, more than half (54%) of grocers are increasing their YoY tech spend, focusing on advancing digital and mobile capabilities, analytics-driven decision making, personalized marketing, and click-and-connect.

[Related: Grocery Tech Trends Study 2021]

Walmart, for example, is investing in vertical farming, looking for new ways to deliver quality and freshness while reinforcing earth-friendly strategies. Last September, Albertson’s launched shoppable video experiences that allows consumers to engage with retailers in a short-form video ecosystem. 

A few years ago, Kroger announced it would be more strategic with its spending, cutting on some areas while continuing to focus on digitizing the shopping experience

03/21/2022

Sephora Delivers Next Level Payment Experience

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a store front at day

Sephora USA, Inc. has partnered with  FreedomPay to integrate FreedomPay’s data-driven commerce technology platform in Sephora’s 500-plus stores across the Americas. 

The partnership allows for a next-level mobile POS consumer experience for shoppers with FreedomPay. The new touchless capable payment system enables Sephora clients to have complete control over their checkout experience, giving consumers the option to pay via contactless payment methods and digital wallets all on their own device, including Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

“Now more than ever, it is critical for us at Sephora to be able to adapt to the quickly changing retail environment and that’s especially important at the point of sale,” said Sree Sreedhararaj, SVP and CTO at Sephora. “Our clients desire a seamless experience in every step of the shopping journey, and our partnership with FreedomPay allows us to maximize efficiencies and capabilities at checkout.”

“FreedomPay is proud to announce the agreement with Sephora, to provide a world class experience to its millions of customers across the Americas,” said Chris Kronenthal, president at FreedomPay. “Our suite of touchless commerce and data solutions will enable Sephora to provide customers a fast, frictionless, and innovative consumer experience.”