Following a successful six-month trial period, Coles Liquor has announced the roll out of its Liquor Easy Ordering (LEO) platform, which uses machine learning to ensure that the right store has the right stock at the right time.

Taking into consideration factors such as events, campaigns, promotions, seasons, and past sales data, LEO’s algorithm provides Coles Liquor stores with predictions about product demand. This demand prediction is then fed into RELEX, Coles Liquor’s ordering system, creating an order plan for the individual store.

“Our forecasting and automated ordering system will help us predict customer demand and required stock levels in advance. This allows us to effectively tailor our range to local communities and better replenish stock, meaning our customers can always rely on us to have their favourite drinks on our shelves, where and when they want it,” a Coles Liquor spokesperson said.

Currently, a number of Coles Liquor staff members are manually ordering their stock, but LEO will simplify this process and allow them to spend more time with customers.

“Automated ordering will give our team members time back in their day to focus on providing great customer service and drink recommendations to suit every occasion, preference and budget,” the spokesperson said.

In addition, suppliers will have access to predicted orders, which will help to plan manufacturing and distribution in advance and reduce stock shortages. For example, a supplier with a line of sparkling wine would receive early indications of how much stock different stores require, taking into account how events such as Mother’s Day or New Years Eve may affect the volumes required, and if there are any factors impacting sales, such as adverse weather or recent promotions of the line.

“By having access to better data and insights we can effectively collaborate with our more than 2000 suppliers and give them greater visibility of stock requirements in advance to support their production planning. This is particularly important for our small and medium suppliers so they can ensure availability of their stock in our stores at the right place at the right time,” the spokesperson added.

Simon Atkinson, General Manager of Transformation, said that the platform will benefit customers, staff, and suppliers.

“It’s great to see our investments into LEO have simplified our teams work while maximising accuracy for our stores. Customers now have more confidence that they can purchase their desired products during key periods, our team members have more time to focus on service and our suppliers have access to recent data to help predict productions,” he said. LEO was initially trialled in 18 Coles Liquor stores across the country, covering a variety of trading patterns and supply chain arrangements. The platform is now being introduced in stores, and a phased supplier rollout is underway. Coles Liquor aims to implement LEO across half the fleet by the end of the 2024-2025 financial year.

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