Blue Yonder transforms Sainsbury’s supply chain

  • May 8, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Arizona-based Blue Yonder is helping UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s digitally transform its end-to-end supply chain strategy.

The retailer intends to implement Blue Yonder’s demand planning, store order planning and fulfilment options across all its food categories – fresh, frozen and ambient – as part of its supply chain transformation programme.

Sainsbury’s operates more than 2000 stores across its Sainsbury’s and Argos brands, which also feature Tu Clothing and Habitat products as part of its broader customer offer. The retailer was looking to replace its existing system with machine-learning (ML) technology to improve its forecasting and replenishment capabilities. Sainsbury’s has been a long-time user of Blue Yonder’s warehouse management software and recently upgraded its on-premises space and category management capabilities to SaaS, in parallel with this supply chain transformation programme. The project was designed and implemented by Blue Yonder.

“We are simplifying our operations at pace wherever we can in order to invest in improving food quality, increasing choice and innovation and consistently delivering value to customers,” said Meinir Childs, director of supply chain for Sainsbury’s. “Our supply chain transformation programme will enable us to get products to the right place at the right time for customers by improving our ability to efficiently transport products across our network. For the first time ever, we are now using machine learning to enable automatic forecast calculation and generation of store orders, so this is an exciting moment for our business and we’re pleased to be working with Blue Yonder to make it happen.”

This should see improvements in inventory stockholding and availability KPIs thanks to ML forecasting and multi-echelon replenishment. Sainsbury’s architecture and business processes should become easier to understand, scalable, resilient and nimble, as well as able to support any future business changes quickly.

One aim is to reduce the number of key systems to eliminate redundant functionality, reduce technology risk and improve the user experience for colleagues, suppliers and B2B customers. This should lead to a more automated, simplified user experience and standardised workflows to increase productivity.

“We are excited that Sainsbury’s has reached this significant milestone in their supply chain transformation journey, thanks to the collaboration of both teams,” said Gaël Ramaen, corporate vice president at Blue Yonder. “When we started this project, our goal was to make machine learning become a key enabler of Sainsbury’s future digital transformation. We have succeeded at this goal and more. Sainsbury’s is on a great trajectory and continues to invest in what matters most to its customers to provide a great experience through any channel, a great offer adapted to local consumer demand, the ability to fulfil any product, from anywhere to anywhere.”

By implementing Blue Yonder’s technology built on a robust, resilient, modern supply chain platform, Sainsbury’s has enhanced its ability to monitor and respond to changing customer needs, predicting and preventing potential supply chain disruptions. Blue Yonder’s offering includes ML-based forecasting and ordering capabilities that should help stores better manage fresh and perishable products. Sainsbury’s is also gaining visibility, orchestration and collaboration across the end-to-end supply chain to use automation to make better business decisions.

“We cherish our relationship with Sainsbury’s and are delighted to have been able to commence the successful delivery of this transformation programme,” said Ari Sengupta, senior vice president at Blue Yonder. “Our Blue Yonder global professional services worked side-by-side with Sainsbury’s business and technology teams and partners to ensure the adoption of our automation- and ML-driven solutions, delivering accurate and timely demand forecasts and store orders. Our team continues to take the learnings to improve and make the system and ways of working better each day.”