Prada x Oracle Retail, Next Deploys 50 Sorting Robots – Sourcing Journal
The weekly Retail Tech Roundup compiles technology news across the supply chain, manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, logistics and fulfillment sectors.
Prada Group deployed Oracle Retail Cloud Services for Merchandise Financial Planning, Assortment and Item Planning to optimize its merchandising process.
This will enhance sales and forecasts, performance analysis, as well as inventory management and allocation. The luxury fashion firms aims to better understand its operations process, scenario plan more effectively and react more quickly as the market evolves.
The investment builds on Prada Group’s existing mobile deployment of Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service (POS) and Oracle Retail Customer Engagement Cloud Service to collect data on customer preferences and purchase habits. This data can then be analyzed and translated into strategic actions to increase loyalty.
With Oracle’s various solutions, the luxury company wants to combine its physical and digital offerings to get to know its customers better and use data to deliver an increasingly personalized experience.
“Understanding our customers and their journey is critical to our success,” said Lorenzo Bertelli, marketing director and head of corporate social responsibility, Prada Group, in a statement. “Technology can help with that and allow us to innovate faster, to drive value and ultimately growth. With Oracle, we have built a trusted relationship and know we can rely on the team and their technology to meet our business needs.”
In the next phase, Prada Group will deploy Oracle Retail Demand Forecasting Cloud Service, an enterprise forecasting engine in the Oracle Retail Analytics and Planning suite. These solutions sit on top of Oracle Retail AI Foundation, which is built to provide analytical insights to drive planning, buying, moving, and selling decisions.
Global transport and logistics company Geodis has acquired Southern Companies, a drayage provider based in the U.S. that handles all phases of the import and export process. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
The acquisition aims to enhance Geodis’ end-to-end U.S. supply chain capabilities by adding drayage services in ports in the Southeast and Gulf Coast, and comes less than a year after the company acquired last-mile delivery startup Need it Now Delivers.
Southern Companies is a family-owned business founded in Miami in 1965 that has moved more than 1 million containers. The company runs operating terminals serving seven key ports in the Southern U.S.: Port of Miami, Port of Everglades, Port of Houston, Port of Jacksonville, Port of Tampa, Port of Savannah and Port of Charleston. Southern Companies provides a range of import and export services, including warehousing and trucking, to ensure customer goods are moving swiftly through the supply chain.
The acquisition complements Geodis’ Americas region’s existing transportation and warehousing capabilities. More than 80 employees spanning Southern Companies’ seven facilities throughout the Southeast will officially join Geodis under the deal.
With its Americas region headquartered in Brentwood, Tenn., Geodis currently operates more than 150 warehouse facilities for its clients, with over 50 million square feet of warehousing space in the U.S. alone. The logistics and transportation company now has more than 17,000 North America employees.
Belgium-based fashion retailer C&A Modas S.A (C&A) has developed an Integrated Management Flow system using the Palantir Foundry platform. With the technology, C&A can receive alerts about when best-selling items need to restocked.
The retailer, which has about 1,600 stores in Europe and Brazil, wants to speed up inventory turns and improvement product procurement to optimize its supply chain.
“We are the first Brazilian fashion retail brand to rely on this artificial intelligence technology. The flow developed allowed us to optimize and speed up the entire purchase process: from the initial planning, to sending the products to the stores,” said Bruno Ferreira, planning and business intelligence director for C&A Brazil. “Among the significant gains, I’d highlight the increase of sales of products that were in stock and the reduction of unnecessary overstock.”
Palantir implemented the entire flow of ingestion, processing and generating purchase recommendations for all best-selling products, including new models in just three months. The Foundry software reconciled numerous variables that influenced long-term inventory planning, sales seasonality, product performance variations, financial criteria and other factors, according to Palantir. Through this process, C&A identified several opportunities to improve inventory management of its best-selling products.
According to Henrique Valer, the head of Palantir LatAm, the tech company digitally twinned C&A’s logistics chain, giving planning teams a richer view of the purchasing process, and helping them quickly simulate new rules and scenarios.
Foundry, which Palantir calls a platform for AI-powered operations, aims to bridge siloed planning and execution processes, optimize inventory management and help build supply chain resilience for economic and geopolitical uncertainty.
Next piloted logistics robotics company Geek+‘s automation technology in the U.K.-based fashion retailer’s Dearne Valley pallet fulfillment center.
In 484,000 square feet of warehouse space, 250 Geek+ robots handled both goods-to-person picking and order sorting processes for Next’s fashion e-commerce operations. To meet growing demand, 50 S20T sorting robots were introduced earlier this year.
Faced with high demand, Next decided to streamline its processes and scale up efficiently to meet new customer requirements. To achieve this goal, the retailer sought out efficient solutions including selecting Geek+ as its robotic warehouse automation partner. The hybrid “Pick-and-Sort” solution is the result of the successful co-development process between the two companies.
“Working with Geek+ has been a positive experience for us, both from the start and with the ongoing support provided,” said Liam Jenkinson, site manager at Next, in a statement. “The flexibility offered by Geek+’s picking and sortation system is critical to our operations, and the integration between our warehouse management system and Geek+’s robot management system is seamless. As our business continues to expand, we are planning to extend the warehouse and replicate the success of this project in the new space.”
The process begins with the Geek+ P800 picking robots, which retrieve the pallets from the pallet transfer area and move them to the storage area for picking. Once a picking order is initiated, the robot transports the rack to a multifunctional workstation that is used for both the picking and sorting procedures. Once the picking is completed, the operator deposits the item onto the S20T sorting robot. The S20T robot then transfers the goods to the designated chute for the depot, while the parcel heads downstairs for packing. The Geek+ solution is designed to be flexible enough so that Next can manage a wide variety of products that differ in size, weight and velocity of sale.
Next says it can now process 16,000 units per day for its e-commerce businesses and 540 stores across Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The efficiency of the automated process is twice that of manual picking, according to the retailer.
This improved efficiency has not only enabled Next to handle a record volume during the last holiday season without requiring additional labor, but it has also allowed the company to push the cut-off time from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. while still meeting its next-day delivery promise.
Iam Robotics, a mobile robotics and software company, has emerged from stealth mode with the launch of the Meet Me robotic solution to increase order fulfillment productivity. The company operated in stealth mode since late 2021 as it developed its technology platform and autonomous mobile robot (AMR), which is being piloted in live production environments this year.
Meet Me is built to coordinate humans and robots as a cohesive system, in an effort to enable warehousing, logistics and manufacturing operations to increase productivity, mitigate operational risk and scale without adding headcount.
Iam Robotics’ Pyxis technology optimizes the order picking process by managing the work of AMRs and human pickers as independent workflows. The company’s proprietary algorithm directs human pickers via a wearable device to meet Lumabot AMRs at the next best picking location, eliminating downtime and increasing throughput in the fulfillment process.
Lumabots feature the company’s patent-pending pick-to-light shelving, which can reduce human error and improve picking accuracy.
The company is projecting continued growth under CEO Lance VandenBrook, who was instrumental in the scaling and acquisition of Kiva Systems by Amazon in 2012. The company’s team brings years of combined automation expertise from high-growth companies and industry robotics leaders like FedEx Supply Chain, Blue Yonder, Honeywell, 6 River Systems, Berkshire Grey, Knapp, Amazon Robotics, Seegrid and Symbotic.
Ombori, a company that develops technology to improve the customer’s real-world and digital journey, revealed that the new StoreAI extension to its Ombori Grid will include AI-powered solutions from footwear fitting specialists Volumental.
Volumental’s FitTech platform uses an integrated suite of 3D scanning and data tools to optimize fit and produce footwear recommendations. Volumental In-Store scanners can create an accurate 3D model of the customer’s foot in less than five seconds, the company claims, just by having the customer remove their shoe and stand on the scanner. While traditional shoe fittings just measure the length and width of the customer’s foot, FitTech takes 10 measurements, such as arch height, instep height, heel width, and ball width. This gives a much more detailed indication of the ideal shoe and size.
The Volumental AI-driven Fit Engine then matches the customer’s foot size and shape to the shoe data, and recommends shoes that should be more comfortable and well-fitted. It will also check inventory to ensure that products are in stock and show the customer what color or style options are available.
Customers can select from different shoe types, such as sneakers, casual shoes, formal shoes and so on. When they select a shoe, the screen will show them how well it fits, and whether it will be snug or loose in different areas. This results in an average 20 percent increase in sales and an 18 percent drop in returns.
In addition, FitTech increases customer engagement by offering to send customers their foot data. Seventy-one percent of customers take this option, which provides retailers with future opportunities to send personalized marketing and branding messages or enroll them in a loyalty program.
Ombori Grid helps retailers to extend these capabilities even further. Customers can send a request from the scanning station to have shoes brought to them, and staff will receive it using the Grid Task app. When they find a shoe they want to buy, customers can pay using mobile POS without having to go to a checkout.
XB Fulfillment, an e-commerce logistics platform that provides U.S.-based e-commerce and omnichannel brands with bespoke fulfillment and warehousing services, has secured $100 million in growth capital from Caprice Capital Partners, LLC.
The growth capital will help XB Fulfillment execute its expansion strategy.
The company enabled its clients to deliver more than 22 million orders to their U.S. consumers in 2022. The company operates four fulfillment centers in Mexico, which helps the brands benefit from Section 321 duty savings.
According to Caprice founder Rich Thomson, XB Fulfillment has nearly tripled in size since the private equity firm made its initial growth capital investment in the company in January 2021. Thomson said the XB’s next stage of growth will include expanding its capacity by approximately 60 percent and broadening its geographical presence.
Pipe17, a solution provider that helps e-commerce businesses optimize their order operations, has launched the Pipe17 3PL Connectivity Suite, a version of its order operations hub that helps third-party logistics (3PL) businesses provide their customers with robust connectivity between their own warehouse management systems (WMS) and more than 100 e-commerce platforms, marketplaces, POS solutions, ERPs and other back office applications.
Existing integration solutions for 3PLs often rely on developers equipped with expensive tools to build integrations between a given customer’s e-commerce tech stack and the 3PL’s own WMS. However, with rising development costs and an increasingly competitive business environment, 3PLs may find it hard to keep up using this approach.
Pipe17’s 3PL Connectivity Suite is designed for 3PLs to deliver and manage their customer connectivity at scale.
Used to integrate customer e-commerce applications, intelligent connectors in the suite can provide more reliable bi-directional order, inventory, product and fulfillment data flows between a 3PL’s own WMS and a growing range of marketplaces, shopping carts, POS solutions, ERPs and financial applications.
Customer connections can be set up in as fast as 15 minutes, Pipe17 says, with no code required. With up to 70 percent or more of customer onboarding time tied up in integration, this translates into a massive reduction in customer go-lives. Pipe17’s composable technology is built to eliminate the inefficiencies of developer-driven solutions by giving 3PLs a single connection point from their internal application platform to an expanding range of e-commerce applications.
The suite also includes connection operations management capabilities that are used to monitor customer order flow for problems. With these features, 3PLs gain access to a centralized operations center that includes a consolidated live-traffic view of customer activity with real-time notification for exceptions that require attention and additional debugging tools for resolving customer issues quickly.
3PLs can also provision and deploy portals to their individual customers, where they can view and manage their own order flow and receive alerts. And when 3PLs lack their own API or have concerns about their API quality, they can access a gateway that provides them with a manageable open API to their WMS for clients and third parties.
Commercetools, a composable commerce software company, is scaling the availability of its tools in Mainland China with the debut of Commercetools Compsable Commerce for China.
With the technology, the tech firm helps companies operating in China to defragment their global infrastructure and streamline the creation of digital commerce experiences to their customers. The company is making the debut via an integration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), which operates data centers in China’s Ningxia region.
Commercetools’ availability in China will mark the company’s first use of domestic data centers in the market.
This new offering is designed to streamline businesses’ commerce infrastructure across all regions, eliminate redundant maintenance, deliver unrestricted feature parity across all regions and comply to local tech, data security and personal information standards. Customers with access to Commercetools Composable Commerce for China will have the same performance, agility and competitive advantages that the company provides in other operating markets, the firm says.
Commercetools’ partner community includes a selection of system integrators with expansive expertise in the Chinese technology ecosystem, which enables a re-platforming as well as a new total commerce setup. Due to Commercetools architecture, the new extension can be both ideal for hosting a Chinese website and connecting to relevant channels in the market such as WeChat, Tmall, Taobao and JD.com.
Retailers and consumer brands modernizing their commerce using MACH-based (Microservices-based, API-first, Cloud-native and Headless) architecture with Commercetools on AWS can ideally implement modern technologies faster, while still concentrating on their core businesses. The tech is geared to help them move away from legacy infrastructures that can prevent brands from scaling online capacity at speed and instantly benefit from auto-scaling, improved online performance and lower IT total costs of ownership.
Commercetools Composable Commerce for China is available to both new and existing customers, and can be added to any Commercetools purchase contract.
https://sourcingjournal.com/topics/technology/retail-tech-prada-oracle-next-geek-geodis-palantir-xb-fulfillment-ombori-volumental-436502/ Prada x Oracle Retail, Next Deploys 50 Sorting Robots – Sourcing Journal