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Retail & CPG Cloud Analytics Quickstart Helps Boost Demand Planning

The global pandemic has crippled supply chains and left retailers and consumer goods manufacturers out of step with consumer demand. Analytics leader SAS offers these companies help with Retail & CPG Cloud Analytics Quickstart, a 90-day fee-waived portfolio of supply chain analytics software and services to counter COVID-19 disruptions and improve demand planning to achieve optimal stock and service levels. SAS will launch a standard configuration of the offering in the Microsoft Azure cloud environment.

“With so much uncertainty in retail due to COVID-19, consumers want to be sure their favorite retailers have the items they need in stock when they are ready to buy,” said Mikhail Tolokonnikov, Chief Commercial Officer with Utkonos, a leading Russian online grocery chain.

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“Product out-of-stock is a huge problem for retailers,” Tolokonnikov continued. “For online retail companies, such as Utkonos, this leads to a decrease in customer satisfaction, increased delivery acceptance refusals and, ultimately, an increase in customer churn rate. Investigations into how we could solve this business challenge attracted Utkonos to SAS’ intelligent product substitution solution. In addition, the fact that it could be delivered through a ‘quick start’ program, to deliver business results rapidly, was very appealing and above all necessary.”

Tolokonnikov said Utkonos users appreciate the flexibility, ease of use and sophisticated depth of SAS. They also appreciate the solution’s discovery of relevant product substitution combinations.

He anticipates revenue and profit margin increases of up to 0.8% and order fulfillment increases of up to 75% as the company deploys SAS solutions across all product assortments. With margins razor-thin in online retailing, these gains are significant.

“We automated the process, and now we can solve our out-of-stock problem with the help of innovative and intelligent solutions from SAS,” Tolokonnikov said. “This has been especially important from the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic through to the recovery period.”

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Advanced Analytics Software

In addition to intelligent product substitution, the Retail & CPG Cloud Analytics Quickstart offering also provides users access to SAS Viya, SAS Visual Forecasting, SAS Intelligent Planning Suite, SAS Intelligent Decisioning, and SAS Visual Data Mining and Machine Learning. Not all customers will use the same components or functions, but every customer will have access to all analytics, tools and solutions.

Once the 90-day period expires, customers will be able to license the components they need. For existing SAS customers, they can experiment risk-free with SAS Intelligent Planning Suite in the cloud to augment their current SAS licenses. For companies new to SAS, this prebuilt demand planning and forecasting offering provides an easy introduction to powerful analytics at a critical time.

Retail & CPG Cloud Analytics Quickstart automates data connectors that provide access to external data sources containing COVID-19 immunological, stringency and mobility data and events. This real-time information, combined with sales and inventory data, retunes forecast models for rapid inventory adjustments.

“Using powerful analytics can make a huge difference in how a company responds to and recovers from the pandemic and the resulting economic turmoil,” said Dan Mitchell, Global Business Director of Retail and CPG at SAS. “When used strategically, SAS Analytics deployed in the Microsoft Azure cloud environment can help a company stay ahead of shifting demand patterns and adjust plans quickly to help customers when they need it the most. Agile reaction during the pandemic is critical but, just as important, we must model future consumer behavior for the long term.”

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