LONDON — Convenience store and mobility retailer bp tapped unified supply chain and retail planning solutions provided RELEX Solutions to maximize product availability and minimize food waste across 300-plus c-stores in the United Kingdom.
The platform leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to provide in-depth forecasting and analytics to anticipate and meet fluctuations in customer demand. It will support supply chain planning across bp’s 300-plus company-owned retail sites and Wild Bean Cafes.
With more than half of customers to bp's U.K. retail stores now visiting on food-only missions, rather than for fuel-only or food and fuel, product availability is key to maintaining a great customer experience, the retailer said. This investment in the optimization of its retail supply chain will help bp anticipate customers' needs and ensure they have the right products, in the right place, at the right time — and ultimately keep them coming back for more.
"Supply chain optimization is critical for bp's convenience growth ambitions. Our strategy is to offer customers on the move with quality food and coffee at our network of convenient roadside locations," said Jo Hayward, vice president for convenience in Europe. "With the RELEX platform, we're aiming to strike the balance between maximizing availability and minimizing food waste — optimizing each stage of the supply chain from the warehouse to the store, so that our customers can always rely on us for what they want, when and where they want it."
The growth of bp's convenience and food service offer creates new challenges for the supply chain, including managing seasonality, short shelf-life products and minimizing food waste. Anticipating demand and aggregating it to drive product sourcing and decision-making is critical, RELEX Solutions said.
"We're delighted to collaborate with bp to optimize their supply chain and support their goal of reducing waste — something we're passionate about impacting with technology," commented Mikko Kärkkäinen, cofounder and group CEO, RELEX Solutions. "Our AI-based forecasting and replenishment solution provides in-depth analytics and forecasting data to help identify and manage fluctuations in product demand. It uses a wide range of datapoints, including weather forecasts, price and other commercial parameters with sales history and variations in regional preferences, to provide a bespoke demand forecasts for every product in every store. This leads to the right product levels in every store increasing customer satisfaction, sales and reducing food waste."
Following the U.K. rollout, the use of the RELEX Solutions platform will potentially be expanded to more of bp's 3,300 company-owned retail sites across Europe.
RELEX Solutions was chosen earlier this year by Casey's General Stores Inc. to improve order accuracy on a store-by-store basis across the convenience retailer's network of 2,400-plus stores, as Convenience Store News previously reported. The solution will also help Casey's improve forecasting and replenishment, promotional planning, fresh optimization and more.
Founded in 2005, RELEX Solutions has 21 offices globally. The solutions provider helps retailers and consumer brands drive profitable growth across all sales and distribution channels by maximizing customer satisfaction and minimizing operative costs.
BP operates in 70 countries worldwide. The company has set out an ambition to be a net zero company by 2025. Five transition growth engines include: bioenergy, convenience, electric vehicle charging, renewables and hydrogen.