Alex Lee Deploys AI to Lift Wholesale Distribution Business

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Alex Lee Deploys AI to Lift Wholesale Distribution Business

11/06/2019
MDI Deploys AI to Lift Wholesale Distribution Business
MDI office building

Merchants Distributors (MDI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Hickory, N.C.-based Alex Lee Inc., is implementing Symphony RetailAI’s Demand ForecastingAI and Warehouse Replenishment to support its wholesale distribution business.

“Our primary goal is to ensure that MDI customers continue to grow profitably and create loyalty with their customers – so we needed technology that helps us more quickly understand market trends, react faster and invest in the right products,” said Anita Harris, CIO of Alex Lee, also the parent company of Lowes Foods, which operates 85 grocery stores in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, as well as Just Save food stores in North Carolina. “With accurate demand forecasting and streamlined inventory management, our supply chain aligns more closely with our wholesale customers’ needs. This ensures we consistently serve them the right products at the right time.”

MDI supplies more than 600 retail food stores with food and nonfood items in 12 eastern states. Until now, its supply chain processes were run manually based on buyers’ historical knowledge, resulting in inefficient assortment forecasting. To boost the profitability of its supply chain through faster and more accurate merchandising decisions, MDI committed to using new solutions that automated its forecasting process.  

With the warehouse replenishment solution from Symphony RetailAI, a global provider of AI-enabled revenue growth management solutions and customer-centric insights for retailers and CPG manufacturers across the entire value chain, MDI is able to identify demand signals that can be shared between store and warehouse for increased inventory visibility and insights. The demand forecasting solution uses machine learning and contextual data to enhance forecast accuracy and remove manual guesswork, while reducing out-of-stocks, excess inventory and spoiled foods at the same time. It also accommodates grocery-style functionality for buying, enabling replenishment of all categories, including commodities, specialty and hyper-fresh items.

“In order to support the success of its customers and suppliers, distributors like MDI must ensure their own business practices are modernized and streamlined,” noted Graeme Cooksley, president and COO at Dallas-based Symphony RetailAI. “We’re excited to help Alex Lee and MDI improve supply chain efficiency and ensure MDI remains an established industry leader.”

Symphony RetailAI’s solutions at MDI are slated go live at the end of this year.

Alex Lee is No. 49 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.