May 21, 2019

Zebra acquires prescriptive analytics firm

Profitect's machine learning tools will process the real-time data captured by Zebra's handhelds, firm says.

By DC Velocity Staff

Logistics technology provider Zebra Technologies Corp. plans to acquire Profitect Inc., a provider of prescriptive analytics for the retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries, the companies said today.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.

Burlington, Mass.-based Profitect is a privately-held company that says it uses machine learning and prescriptive analytics to identify opportunities to boost sales and margin. The firm taps into data from across the value chain to improve inventory and pricing accuracy, out of stocks, supply chain inefficiency, unsellable merchandise, and assortment discrepancies.

While Lincolnshire, Ill.-based Zebra is primarily known for its rugged handhelds and mobile computers, Zebra says that adding Profitect's technology, talent, and skillsets will accelerate the development of its Savanna data platform.

The company plans to combine the real-time data captured by Zebra's handhelds with Profitect's access to operational data, machine learning, and prescriptive analytics. That combination is a recipe for giving workers the insights they need to make better, faster, smarter decisions, Zebra said.

"The acquisition of Profitect expands our relevancy deeper and wider in global retail operations while advancing our software capabilities to make our Enterprise Asset Intelligence vision even more accessible," Zebra CEO Anders Gustafsson said in a release. "We have had a strong relationship with Profitect for the past five years through Zebra Ventures, and we are excited to take our strategic investment to the next level by welcoming the Profitect team to the Zebra family."

The acquisition follows the release of a growing number of software platforms moving artificial intelligence (AI) from a theoretical concept to real-world applications in supply chain.

IBM Corp. last week launched Business Transactional Intelligence (BTI), an AI-powered solution that offers anomaly detection and visualization capabilities for mitigating supply chain disruptions and accelerating data-driven decision making.

JDA Software Group Inc. recently introduced the machine learning (ML)-driven Luminate Warehouse Tasking product, saying the platform can intelligently optimize tasks in real time.

And LevaData announced a product called LevaData NPI (New Product Introduction), an extension of its Cognitive Sourcing Platform, which applies AI to generate supply chain insights and actionable guidance to product planning, launch, and introduction teams in enterprise manufacturing companies.

Editor's note: This story was revised on May 22 to include information about JDA's product.

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