In a new survey of retail executives, Symphony RetailAI found that 82% of them are focusing on data-driven demand forecasting and nearly two thirds (61%) are prioritizing data management in their supply chain.
While there is strong agreement that data is key, the embrace of technologies to achieve those goals is somewhat behind sentiment. Only 13% of retail execs polled think they outperform their peers, while 87% say that their supply chain performance lags or is equal to competing businesses.
Symphony RetailAI's research, conducted with partner Incisiv, also sought to uncover retailers’ use of AI and machine learning. A high number of 87% of respondents said they have not yet taken “meaningful steps” to embrace AI and many of them are stalling for a variety of reasons. Barriers include poor data quality, an inability to integrate data from several sources and a general lack of confidence in AI.
The gap between intent and progress underscores the opportunity for retailers to use AI to enhance demand forecasting and supply chain management, according to Symphony RetailAI's experts. “As new threats loom and other economic factors create supply chain unpredictability, these results highlight the need to future-proof grocery supply chains to handle unexpected disruptions,” declared Troy Prothero, the company’s SVP, product management, supply chain solutions. “The importance of using data, including AI-driven demand forecasting, to gain a competitive supply chain advantage isn’t going away, so organizations that prioritize new ways of using data for decision-making will be better positioned to succeed.”
Added Gaurav Pant, chief insights officer for Incisiv: “Our research with Symphony RetailAI sheds light on the critical need for retailers to use AI to break down silos and utilize as much organizational data as possible.”
These and other insights on grocery forecasting will be shared in a Progressive Grocer webinar on April 27: "The New Rules of Grocery Demand Forecasting: Exclusive research reveals supply chain priorities and pain points."