Solution Provider Spotlight: Blue Yonder

August 7, 2023
by Michael Orr, Senior Product Marketing Director at Blue Yonder

Give us a brief history of your company, when and how did you get started and what is your high-level mission statement?

Blue Yonder began in 1987 as JDA Retail Planning. Over time, the organization displayed an aptitude for strategic expansion: acquiring Arthur, E3, manugistics, i2 Technologies, RedPrairie, Intactix and Yantriks. Today, Blue Yonder is the world leader in digital supply chain transformations and omni-channel commerce fulfilment. Our end-to-end, cognitive business platform enables retailers, manufacturers and logistics providers to best fulfil customer demand from planning through delivery. With Blue Yonder, you’ll unify your data, supply chain and retail commerce operations to unlock new business opportunities and drive automation, control and orchestration to enable more profitable, sustainable business decisions.

What would you like CMA and SIMA members to know about your brand/company?

Connected category management is a strategic part of retail success and plays a critical role in a highly efficient, integrated and seamless supply chain, but it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Store performance and customer data, along with assortment, space constraints and planogram compliance, are fed back into the supply chain, creating a closed feedback loop that makes future plans better, and results in higher customer satisfaction and greater revenues.

What is the most common question you hear from current and potential customers, and how do you answer it?

Most customers ask how we are incorporating AI/ML into the discipline of category management. We advise that there is no single area of retailing that couldn’t be improved by technology, but the solution needs to holistic. Injecting AI into assortment management will cap benefits if not connected to space or other constraints. The most optimized layouts and planograms will only take you so far if they are not compliant, or cannot be delivered by the supply chain. The right answer is to ensure that workflows are connected and enhanced by technology in a way that meaningfully unifies human and artificial intelligence.

Any white space in the industry or areas you are looking to expand into?

Blue Yonder is laying the foundation for continuous category management by building more intelligent, AI-driven solutions that are trigger-driven rather than periodic, and that are constraint aware across space, labour and capacity.  This also includes connecting category management as an integral part of the total end-to-end business processes that will allow our customers to continually improve performance, adapt to rapid changes in the market and remain agile to new innovations and demands. Planogram detail added with store insights gives a great starting point for consumption driven demand signal – which improves forecast accuracy for CPG as well as for retailer. Better forecast drives enhanced accuracy and better replenishment driving higher OTIF with optimal inventory investment.

What is the most important thing that needs to be addressed in the category management and shopper insights disciplines going forward?

A more accurate understanding of shopper behaviour. What exactly are shoppers looking for, in every aisle and every store, in-store and online? Technology can provide retailers with fact-based, real-time answers to this all-important question, and significantly decrease the time between insight and action, but it needs to be consolidated from multiple places: loyalty programs, in-store IoT and digital systems.

How are you thinking about the next 3-5 years in retail?

The next 3-5 years has already started. Retail today needs to shift toward connected, cognitive and composable technology that allows retailers to mature at their own pace, and consume only what they need. The shopper already thinks in terms of a single relationship to a retailer. Retailers need to shift their mindset toward personalized relationships and adopting integrated solutions that can support these demands both not and in the future.