Experts in AI: Changing the nature of retail

Andreas Schmidt from Blue Yonder explains how “supply chains can save the world”

27 February 2020

Some applications of artificial intelligence can be quite controversial, threatening civil liberties and human jobs, while others appear to deliver considerable benefits and no drawbacks.

Optimization of retail supply chains fits in the second category: on one hand, it improves profitability, while on the other, it eliminates waste and improves sustainability of the organization – and with greater awareness of climate change, and the accompanying pressure from consumers, sustainability is now an essential part of the boardroom conversation.

To find out about the ways AI tech can encourage more ethical consumption, AI Business sat down with Andreas Schmidt, director of product management at Blue Yonder, a German AI firm which was acquired by American supply chain software specialist JDA in 2018. Somewhat surprisingly, JDA then changed its name to Blue Yonder in February 2020.

Schmidt delivered a session at the recent AI Summit in New York, where he talked about the benefits of using AI tools in supply chain management. At the core of Blue Yonder’s proposition is the ability to use machine learning to more effectively predict consumption patterns and adjust stock levels accordingly.

“Things that I’ve seen in my professional career, and helped build, include ordering food for supermarkets, anything that [needs] replenishment, predict demand, understand what the strategy is and recommend the right order,” Schmidt told AI Business.

“Another prominent example is setting the right price at the right time: understand how the relation between price and demand actually works, and then mark down the products just in time so you’re out of your inventory at the end of the season.”