4R Planning as a Service (PaaS)

Realize the benefits of AI-powered forecasting and planning processes without IT involvement or additional resources investment

AI and Machine Learning (ML) in Retail

There are vast amounts of data available to retailers that can help them better understand the trends in the markets they operate in. Translating complex supply chain, operational, and consumer data into actionable insights requires powerful tools and appropriately skilled resources. The promise of AI and Machine Learning (ML) is exciting, and for some companies, overwhelming.

AI and ML have had proven applications in the retail industry. AI-powered planning technologies provide insights that give retailers a holistic view of supply chains that aligns the merchandising and supply chain functions. With a “single source of truth,” retailers can make better supply chain decisions to build and execute optimal inventory plans within the organization and across trading partner channels and relationships.

According to a recent RSR Research article, retailers see the value in using new data and AI to improve supply chain management, forecasting and inventory planning processes and the customer experience. However, extracting insights from traditional systems and new external data can require significant effort and time to bring the data together for analysis without the right tools. As a result, plans may become irrelevant by the time they are deployed.

Furthermore, due to the talent shortage, finding, training and retaining staff with the appropriate data science and analytical skills is a huge challenge within the industry today.

Without the right tools, process and staff to create accurate demand forecasts quickly and deploy optimal assortment, replenishment and allocation plans, retailers will struggle to operate a successful supply chain management organization.

Supply Chain Operational Excellence

Supply chain planning is the process that manages the supply needed to support demand requirements. It uses forecasts to develop demand plans that optimize inventory levels and their allocation across locations. Successful supply chain management organizations have a holistic view of the supply chain and successfully get the right products, in the right quantities on the right shelf, at the right time, in every store.

Building a Successful Supply Chain Operation Requires 5 Fundamental Operational Excellence Practices

Process DimensionContribution to Operational Excellence
Standardization·    Reduces supply chain cycle time by eliminating non-value added work and unnecessary rework through simplification of the planning process
·    Drives consistent execution and supply chain stability
Risk Management·    Reduces risk of process failure
·    Minimize risk of supply chain surprises, which enables proactive management of customer expectations
·    Implement pre-defined planning strategies without delay
·    Execute response plans for supply chain disruptions with agility
Control·    Enable consistent and predictable results
·    Effectively manage supply chain changes
·    Establish stability that supports supply chain strategies
·    Enables early issue detection that identifies a potential problem prior to it becoming a problem prompting proactive efforts
·    Control and manage change as supply chain situations change
Stability·    Provides an essential basis for which to achieve and maintain supply chain planning predictability and repeatability
·    Enables sustainable process improvement
Metrics & Reporting·    Enable a comprehensive understanding of supply chain exceptions and trends
·    Effectively manage supply chain service delivery exceptions
·    Continuously monitor data quality and validate reports
·    Create a consistent supply chain operational dashboard

Successful supply chain organizations manage agile and sustainable supply chains because they have the right people, processes and tools in place. Some companies begin by building chain management capabilities from the ground up. Others have adopted innovative SaaS-based technologies and have in-house staff trained. However, with the shortage of supply chain experts and the notoriously high-turnover of supply chain staff, some companies turn to Supply Chain Planning as a Service.

What is Supply Chain Planning as a Service?

If supply chain planning is the process that manages the supply needed to support demand requirements, then Supply Chain Planning as a Service is an outsourced solution and service model, where external experts execute all aspects of the process and help companies achieve operational excellence.

4R Planning as a Service (PaaS)

4R Planning as a Service (PaaS) is designed to help, without compromising the connection with the management of the business and achieve consistent business results. The team of 4R experts bring exceptional supply chain management skills that few retailers can afford to invest in and develop alone.

4R PaaS is multi-dimensional– a toolbox of components, analysts and planners a company may need to retain control over every aspect of the supply chain, from key supplier relationships to store allocation.

The 4R PaaS service model enables adherence to aggressive service level agreements (e.g. service level and/or financial commitments) on how we support the business and how we derive benefits. 4R provides and retains the talent to enable sustainability and continuity of services levels and supply chain planning metrics.

4R PaaS model provides greater elasticity, allowing the clients to rapidly adjust, expand and contract as the business changes. Our seasoned experts bring leading practices on how to predict, plan and navigate through these supply chain disruptions while at the same time leveraging the technology to plan and anticipate better.

Why engage 4R for Planning as a Service?

4R has provided and optimized this service in collaboration with our solutions since the company was founded…it is in our DNA!

The team that built the 4R solutions is the team that provides planning services to increase the rigor of your operations management, providing greater predictability and reducing risk. By improving process performance and optimizing staffing 4R PaaS will also help companies realize operational savings and drive value well into the future.

Proven Results
4R benchmarks our clients’ results and the numbers speak for themselves. The 4R suite of Intelligent Inventory Optimization solutions and Planning as a Service have helped our clients achieve real business results, like increasing sales and profits, and minimizing stock-outs and markdown losses.