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Data data everywhere, food inglorious food, plus coming out of the back room at EDX


Data rich, insight poor. That’s the way the retail sector was described to me several times recently when I started working on a series of features looking at the role of technology in the operations and logistics sector.
To be frank, I doubt that description will come as a surprise to many. That’s not meant as a damning indictment, but a comment on just how much data the sector has at its fingertips, and indeed all around it as far as the eyes can see.

To that end, this week sees an eDelivery data focus, which includes an interview with Mikko Kärkkäinen, group CEO of Relex, who says investments in the right systems must now become a priority, and Matt Hopkins of Blue Yonder with an overview of machine learning algorithms.

We also have an interview with Alex Watson, global transport manager at SuperDry, who tells us about keeping pace with growth, and with customer expectations.

Data is an important part of the Argos proposition. Having full visibility of its stock – as close to down-to-the-very-last-item as anyone could hope to be – is one of the cornerstones of the Fast Track delivery and collection service, which is now available to b2b customers too, through Argos for Business. The subject of b2b delivery is something we’ll keep returning to throughout this year.

One of the more prosaic manifestations of data in the ecommerce sector is simply in the form of sales figures; growth being the objective. But imagine a world where you’re being squeezed on all sides and your only hope, or so it seems, might actually contribute to your downfall. If you work in food ecomm you may already be familiar with that scenario. Professor Alan Braithwaite, chairman of LCP, has written for us on the grocery ecommerce conundrum. I, for one, would like to find out what some of our readers think… is he right?

Elsewhere on eDelivery, as you may be aware, our second ever eDelivery Expo, EDX16, takes place on 27 & 28 April – which is just four weeks away. Last year more than 5,000 people attended the two day event, which is co-located with InternetRetailing Expo, and I’m hoping to meet as many eDelivery readers there as possible next month. You can find details on the event, including how to register here. You can also find an overview of Day Two here.

One of the themes of EDX16 is how operations and logistics are no longer a back-room part of retail… nor will they ever become that again. In ways that could not have been predicted not that long ago, the delivery side of retail is now as much a part of the first mile as it is the last.

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