M&S has announced it is implementing AI machinery across 1,050 of its M&S food stores and 13 distribution centres in the UK and Ireland.
The retailer is partnering with retail software consultants Relex, which has previously deployed its AI technology in Morrisons, Waitrose, WH Smith and One stop.
“Relex’s ability to quickly deliver insight and accuracy across forecasting, ordering and allocation within a single platform will significantly increase the efficiency of our day-to-day business operation,” M&S food commercial director George Wright said.
The aim of the tech is to improve forecasting, optimising fresh food availability, cutting waste and ensuring smooth delivery flow.
According to Relex, the software is able to automatically account for shelf space, promotions and other adjustments through weather forecasting.
“Relex is an important part of our vision of modernising the end-to-end supply chain. We very much look forward to achieving exceptional results as a result of this project,” Wright added.
The partnership with Relex follows previous work by M&S to modernise its supply chain after disappointing food waste margins in 2019 prompted a review of practises including increased delivery to stores.
Relex chief executive Mikko Kärkkäinen said: “Relex will rapidly help to improve efficiency throughout the end-to-end supply chain, and the end result will be improved product availability and reduced waste.
This is the start of an exciting partnership that will enable M&S Food to run the most advanced fresh supply chain within the UK grocery market.
“We have a strong cultural fit with M&S, and our track record in grocery and fresh is very well matched to M&S Food’s strategic objectives.”