Source: AF Blakemore

Relex helps to automate and optimise supply chain processes

AF Blakemore has signed up supply chain specialist Relex Solutions in a bid to cut waste and improve availability for retailers.

The Spar wholesaler, which holds 9,000 SKUs and reached an annual turnover of £1.2bn last year, has implemented the software at its distribution centres to automate forecasting and replenishment procedures across fresh, ambient and frozen categories.

It will replace AF Blakemore’s previous manual methods with spreadsheets and overlapping multiple ERP systems with AI and machine-learning based analytics.

“With our new Relex-powered automated planning system, we aim to improve availability of in-store stock for customers, while also reducing waste and freeing up staff to focus on other core tasks,” said AF Blakemore supply chain director Marc Deakin.

“Relex has a well-earned reputation based on its in-depth understanding of the convenience and grocery sector, including long-term relationships working with other Spar franchise operators in both the UK and mainland Europe, and also the performance of their technology solutions in streamlining and improving multiple supply chain processes through automation. Relex was the natural choice to meet AF Blakemore’s operational needs.”

Relex Solutions sales for EMEA VP Jason Berry said: “Wholesalers and retailers alike today face a range of competing and interconnected business challenges, including managing costs, reducing waste, and handling disruptions to supply chains so that customers can continue to buy the products they want.

“AI and machine learning have a significant role to play in addressing these challenges by processing all relevant data at scale for far greater accuracy in forecasting and replenishment. We’re very pleased to work with AF Blakemore to automate this critical part of its operations.”