March 16, 2018

APL Logistics and ToolsGroup partner to bring demand sensing solution to retailers

Two firms to bring a unified demand sensing, inventory optimization, and inbound logistics solution to the retail market.

By DC Velocity Staff

Supply chain specialist APL Logistics Ltd. has inked a joint development and marketing agreement with Boston-based ToolsGroup, a provider of supply chain planning and demand analytics software.

"Many of our retail customers have spent time and resources to provide 'fast and flexible' options to their merchandisers, and these have been successful," said Thad Bedard, vice president of strategy, innovation, and marketing at APLL, in a press release. "But being 'fast and flexible' is not enough to compensate if the core demand plan is inaccurate. We are solving this problem by partnering with a top-notch demand planning vendor to ensure the goods we're shipping are going to the optimal locations in the right quantities when they leave the manufacturer."

The planning problem is due to limited visibility into and understanding of demand patterns, says the company, which causes retailers to order and allocate the wrong inventory across their network. This results in a glut of inventory in one geography, stockouts in others, and a last-minute scramble across the globe to move inventory and fill orders. ToolsGroup's SO99+ offers a predictive inventory optimization solution designed to solve this problem by analyzing the demand requirements at the item location level. This demand sensing ability is key to having the right product in the right geography locations and in the right quantities. The result, says ToolsGroup, is a reduction in time spent and money wasted, as the products are optimally deployed across the globe.

ToolsGroup's Managing Director Patrick Smith elaborated on this point in a prepared statement, "We are at a turning point in retail. By predicting customer demand at the store level, retailers will know what level of inventory to stock at each location, reducing not only the large stocking issues, but also the number of markdowns and dead inventory that eat away at already thin margins. We believe that this partnership answers an under-served market need and gives retailers more control over their costs and ultimately their success."

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