UK food chain EAT is using Blue Yonder’s cloud-based Forward Demand software to ensure its daily changing menu is “always available” to its customers across 115 stores.

Forward Demand uses factors such as weather, holidays and other events to predict sales from one day, week and month to the next. The key goal for EAT is to manage short-shelf life inventory effectively.

EAT store
The key goal for EAT is to manage short-shelf life inventory effectively. Image credit: EAT

This means maintaining product availability up to specified sell-out times, whilst significantly reducing waste to achieve an optimal balance between out-of-stock and over-stock situations.

EAT teamed up with Blue Yonder for a pilot project in 2014, and integrated Blue Yonder’s Forward Demand into its back-office systems.

Strahan Wilson, CFO of EAT, said: “The complexity of forecasting the demand for one day shelf life products means that had we pursued a traditional route, not only would we have had to spend time and money developing a demand planning solution, but we would also have to hire data scientists to manage the model on an ongoing basis.

“Blue Yonder offered us not only a state of the art demand forecasting solution, but through their SaaS model agreed to maintain and evolve the model as our business changes.”

Due to the successful results of the pilot project, the operational roll-out for 2015 has now been agreed at EAT. Rakesh Harji, managing director of Blue Yonder UK, said: “In previous projects where Blue Yonder’s Demand Forecasting solution was integrated into other retailers’ operations, better forecasting by 20-40 percent was achieved. This resulted in a significant reduction of food waste.”

Blue Yonder’s forecasting solutions are based on machine-learning capabilities of an algorithm, which is unique to Blue Yonder.