Employee checking stock at grocery store

Case Study

U.S. grocer transformed manual financial management processes with enterprise planning solution

While this manual approach has sufficed for some time, it made enterprise-wide financial planning difficult because of inconsistent, unreliable data aggregation from store to store.

OUR CLIENT

This grocery store retailer originated as a fresh fruit stand decades ago and has evolved to become a leading supermarket chain across the U.S. With more than 350 stores in 20 states, the company focuses on natural and organic products as well as sustainable operations, transparent product sourcing, zero waste, and community involvement.

CHALLENGE

Moving away from spreadsheets to manage finances and forecasting

The company has been using spreadsheets for years to manage its financial planning and demand forecasting processes. While this manual approach has sufficed for some time, it made enterprise-wide financial planning difficult because of inconsistent, unreliable data aggregation from store to store. Company leaders wanted to implement a robust enterprise planning solution as well as an automated forecasting application to standardize financial management and forecasting processes across stores, eliminate the human error associated with spreadsheets, and gain insights to make informed decisions to drive growth.

TRANSFORMATION

Implemented enterprise planning, merchandise financial forecasting

The company chose Blue Yonder as their solution and needed a team to install and bring up the system. UST system integrators were contracted to implement and configured Blue Yonder’s Enterprise Planning (EP) and Merchandise Financial Forecasting (MFF) solutions. During the implementation the team retooled the MFF application to account for the rapid inventory turnover of perishable foods versus the longer shelf-life of non-perishable products. The IT team loaded the EP and MFF applications with two years of historical financial data to train the embedded machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms and financial models.

IMPACT

Standardized processes across stores, gained holistic view of company finances

The grocery chain now has standardized and streamlined its financial planning and demand forecasting processes across all stores thanks to the Blue Yonder EP and MFF solutions.

The flexible EP application allows company leaders to focus on high-level sales and margin financial metrics, while the AI and ML-powered MFF application helps retail buyers and store managers make more informed decisions based on reliable, granular insights from the automated demand forecasts. By replacing spreadsheets with new cloud-based applications, the grocer has eliminated the inaccuracies and inconsistencies that come with manual data entries. The new standardized applications and processes also make financial roll-ups much easier for the accounting department, giving company leaders a reliable, holistic view of the store, region, and overall company financials.

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