Six major U.S. grocery services are promising to offer fresher products thanks to a new supply chain innovation that uses AI to better manage inventory.
Dutch retailer Ahold Delhaize—which owns Food Lion, Giant Food, Giant Food Stores (Giant/Martin’s), Hannaford, Peapod and Stop & Shop—said Wednesday that its supply chain manager, Retail Business Services, is rolling out new technology for end-to-end forecasting and replenishment of both fresh and non-perishable items.
The system, developed by RELEX Solutions, helps to better manage inventory at both stores and distribution centers, cutting down on overstock. According to the Wall Street Journal, pilots at Food Lion and Hannaford over the past year showed the new system drastically lowers the need for urgent shipments of food nearing the end of its shelf life. Such shipments were down 51% for fish and 44% for pork, said the WSJ, meaning the shelves are full of fresher product.
According to Chris Lewis, executive vice president of supply chain for Retail Business Services, the new system “will enable a complete supply chain transformation at a time when customer expectations are rapidly changing the way groceries are bought, sold, and delivered.”
Consumers are now ordering groceries online for delivery or in-store pick up as supposed to just walking the aisle with a shopping cart. For those who still shop the traditional way, however, Ahold Delhaize introduced a friendly autonomous robot named Marty at its Giant Food Stores earlier this year to keep the aisles clean and safe.