British retailer Marks & Spencer has been working with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) specialist Blue Yonder to reduce costs and improve stock flow by re-engineering its end-to-end supply chain.

Blue Yonder has now completed the implementation of its demand and fulfillment capabilities through Luminate Planning so M&S can quickly pivot to consumers’ rapidly changing shopping patterns in order to address demand, particularly across online channels.

Luminate Planning, a cloud-based solutions portfolio built on Microsoft Azure, provides M&S with a more accurate view into demand by consolidating and synchronizing demand signals, as well as external variables across the retailers’ 1,000 stores. M&S can now evaluate demand scenarios and use prescriptive recommendations to make more accurate decisions; from staging the right inventory through the distribution network to minimising stock-outs and maximising inventory turns.

Implementing Blue Yonder’s solution is an important early step in M&S’s supply chain modernisation and provides a strong foundation, removing barriers to further accelerate the supply chain speed to provide the best service for its customers. For M&S colleagues it offers a better experience with a modern, user-friendly and highly configurable solution to respond to fast changes in the market.

“As part of our fast-moving Never the Same Again programme we’re re-engineering our clothing and home supply chain, this means ensuring our market-leading demand platform remains up to date. We’ve worked collaboratively with Blue Yonder, our long-time supply chain provider, and other partners to digitally transform from on-premises to cloud-based architecture,” says Matt Horwood, chief technology officer, M&S clothing and home. “The ability to access new Luminate Planning capabilities will help us increase the speed of our supply chain to be more agile, with a strong, modern, supply chain platform foundation – ultimately better serving our customer online and in-store.”

M&S is creating 85 new roles to help drive omnichannel growth as part of its newly formed MS2 division under which the retailer is setting itself up to serve shoppers best digitally in the future, including reflecting the shift to online shopping driven by the pandemic.