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RELEX Live: Global retail summit – event recap and on-demand recordings

Oct 8, 2020 5 min

RELEX entered the virtual conference scene with a bang on September 23 with our inaugural event, RELEX Live: Global Retail Summit. Retailers, analysts, and press from all over the world joined us as retail experts from RELEX and our customers led engaging sessions on the trends and best practices that are keeping retailers competitive in challenging times. 

If you weren’t able to join us live, we’ve made on-demand recordings available for each session on the agenda. Since the full conference was several hours long, we’ve broken the sessions up into individual recordings to help you zero in on the topics most relevant to the challenges you’re facing. Below, you’ll find a high-level overview of what you can expect to take away from each of our presenters.

“Survival of the Nimblest: How Adaptation is Key to Success in Today’s Retail Environment”

In his keynote address, Group CEO Mikko Kärkkäinen opens RELEX Live by sharing his perspective on the past, present, and future of global retail. He takes a closer look at how the most successful retailers of the past 15 years, including several RELEX customers, have effectively combined efficiency and adaptability with innovation. Kärkkäinen also discusses how a unified approach to retail planning has become essential in the age of “Living Retail,” as retailers have had to manage an ever-changing landscape, embrace an omnichannel model, and move toward a more automated and less siloed way of doing business. 

“Adapting to Every Future, Faster: Unified Planning for Better, Smarter, Faster Decisions”

Mike Taylor, Strategic Sales Solution Architect at RELEX, shares our vision as a provider of unified retail planning solutions. He discusses the case of a large grocery retailer that was able to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak by taking advantage of optimized planograms to reduce shelving work. Taylor also provides insight into how retailers can stay competitive in a world of constant change—“What we need now,” he says, “is technology to break down silos, optimizing decisions across all areas of the supply chain in an automated, efficient way.” 

“Leroy Merlin Italy: Supply Chain Digitalization: The Importance of End-to-End Visibility and Capacity Planning”

In this customer case session, Alessandro Cernigliaro, Supply Chain Director for home improvement retailer Leroy Merlin Italy, presents an in-depth look at his company’s partnership with RELEX. He discusses how an integrated approach has allowed his company to better anticipate capacity problems, share information, and plan for the future with a high level of visibility across the entire supply chain. He also describes how his team has improved their procurement, promotion, and seasonality processes while freeing planners to focus on optimizing stock and improving availability. 

“Panel Discussion: The Future of Retail”

Sit in on an engaging roundtable discussion about the ever-changing retail landscape, moderated by Caroline Baldwin, Editor of Essential Retail. The three international retail experts on the panel—André Knüppel, COO of; Pedro Barsanti, CIO of DIA Group; and Dan Tretola, Director of Replenishment Systems and Analytics at Party City—each share their perspective on the current and future state of retail. They dive into how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted their businesses both online and in stores, how technology can improve supply chain practices, and which tools and processes retailers need to successfully meet shifting consumer demand across channels.

“Musti Group: Successful Long-Term Business Development: Key Learnings from a Multinational Growth Company”

In this customer case session, Panu Hannula, CIO of Musti Group, shares key takeaways from the retailer’s work with RELEX through the years. Musti Group, the leading pet-care company in the Nordics, is focused on improving its suite of services while building a robust omnichannel business. Hannula discusses the benefits that Musti Group has driven with a unified planning solution, including its markdown optimization capabilities, throughout this period of active growth. In particular, he covers how channel-specific forecasts deliver critical visibility into online and store demand.

Managing the Grocery Retail Supply Chain: Case Morrisons

Robert Jenkins, Head of Supply Chain Development for Morrisons, shares an in-depth case presentation of how one of the UK’s largest supermarket chains has fine-tuned their technology strategy to deliver fast results with immense impact. He explains how Morrisons has improved their customer experience by leveraging sales data to improve their space and assortment decisions, then dives into two of their more recent initiatives: ambient capacity management and fresh allocations. Using sales and demand forecasts to smooth ambient demand has “made a material difference in customer availability, in warehouse productivity, and in sales,” according to Jenkins, while their new fresh allocation solution has driven further improvements and waste reductions of over £5M ($6.4M or €5.5) per year.

“99 Cents Only Stores: A Fresh Perspective on the Supply Chain”

In this session, 99 Cents Only Stores’ VP of Business Development Henry Chu describes the challenges the deep discounter faces executing their opportunistic buy strategy, as well as how they’ve addressed them through supply chain integration and optimization of their challenging fresh categories. He stresses the importance of a flexible system, saying their supply chain solution “can integrate with our database to consume our master data, but at the same time, create its own master data to help replenishment. We found that flexibility and integration quite helpful.” Chu explains how 99 Cents Only was able to leverage this solution to increase fresh sales by 6% and reduce spoilage by 15% while automating 78% of their order proposals. 

“The Vitamin Shoppe: Optimizing Omni-Channel Inventory”

The Vitamin Shoppe’s Sr. Director of Merchandise Planning and Inventory, Steven Finkelstein, explains how this leading retailer of nutritional products has driven sustainable improvements in their availability and inventory levels by updating key processes and leveraging the right tools to support their planning team and goals. Finkelstein shares how The Vitamin Shoppe has improved omnichannel availability through methods such as virtual “ring fencing” to protect growing direct-to-consumer demand while leveraging store-specific safety stock inventory modeling in all 700+ locations to maximize on-shelf availability. He explains the impact of allowing his planning team to innovate for themselves using a highly configurable planning tool: “The idea of not being reliant on coding or changing complex algorithms was a dream for me. I am surprised every day by how empowering this is for me and my team.”

“Adapting to Every Future, Faster: How AI Is Driving Retail Agility in Rapidly Changing Times”

RELEX’s VP of Field Strategy in North America, Greg Wilson, discusses the importance of autonomous, adaptive, AI-driven planning processes for retailers who hope to stay competitive in a landscape marked by rapid change. While there’s a great deal of hype around AI in demand forecasting, the true benefits come from applying this technology pragmatically across all dimensions of retail planning, from operations to merchandising. Machine learning can provide “a huge untapped opportunity,” Wilson says, “if we tie it all together and look holistically across all of these retail areas to reach unified, real time adaptation.”

Hopefully you find these sessions as engaging and interesting as our live audience did. While on-demand recordings don’t afford the same ability to ask our presenters questions in real time, please feel free to get in touch with any questions or comments you may have, and we’ll have someone reach out to ensure you get the most out of the on-demand experience.

To submit a question to one of our retail experts, click the button.

Written by

Marla Blair

Content Marketing Manager

Diya Chaudhuri

Marketing Manager