Coles Group has partnered with provider of unified retail planning solutions, Relex Solutions, to optimise its end-to-end supply chain planning for fresh produce, as well as long-term inventory planning capabilities.

The Relex solution will service the retailer’s supermarkets nationally and seven fresh produce distribution centres, optimising replenishment for fresh produce using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and high scale computation power. The solution also automates replenishment processes, giving planners time to focus on other tasks.

Coles executive general manager for central operations and transformation, Kevin Gunn said Coles started the journey of centralising its replenishment model more than 10 years ago.

“Fresh produce presents many unique challenges compared to other parts of the grocery business: shorter shelf life, seasonality, price elasticity, along with the diverse and complex growing seasons and regions we are challenged with in Australia,” he said.

“Using the Relex solution to centralise the control of the replenishment model allows Coles to provide increased efficiency in one of our most complex supply chains and improve the customer experience through more targeted ranges, improved availability, fresher products, and simpler processes for our team members and our suppliers.

“The centralised ordering of fresh produce will also help to reduce waste on our existing range and minimise waste on new ranges, which is important to us as Coles aims to become Australia’s most sustainable supermarket.”

Relex Solutions director of operations and alliances for Asia Pacific, Jukka Uskonen said the company was thrilled to partner with Coles as it represents an exciting step in Relex’s expansion.

“Our companies share the same mindset and values, and it’s great to establish this partnership with a joint focus on solving the complexities that fresh product categories bring to retailers.”