Retail Supply Chains Get Digital Upgrades

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Retail Supply Chains Get Digital Upgrades

By Thad Rueter - 05/29/2020
Produce supplier Castellini upgrades inventory visibility
Produce and other supply chains are becoming more digital and sophisticated.

One of the nation's oldest and largest produce distributors has high expectations for improved supply chain visibility and improved service to retailers following a major system upgrade.

Wilder, KY-based Castellini, provider of more than 1,200 produce items to retailers in the eastern U.S., said it would use technology from Blue Yonder (formerly JDA) to increase the efficiency of its warehouse operations, the latest example of how retail supply chains are adopting machine learning and other processes to improve performance.

According to an announcement, the new platform Castellini will deploy “combines rich internal and external data from across a customer’s digital supply chain assets to allow for smarter, more actionable artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)-based business decisions. Blue Yonder will provide the inventory visibility, optimized coordination of activities and product monitoring Castellini needs to meet customer demands while maintaining profitability.”

The move comes as Castellini works to expand its supply chain capabilities so that it can offer more customized tools and programs to the distributor’s customers, “all the while leveraging its robust regional transportation network to monitor, track, and trace customer products from pick-up to delivery,” Castellini said. “To meet the growth in demand for these services, the company is in the process of consolidating several of its warehouse locations into one, state-of-the-art facility. As a result, Castellini had outgrown its legacy warehousing system.”

A big goal of this deployment —— similar to other recent supply chain improvements from the larger world of retail —— involves gaining more end-to-end visibility into its supply chain, Castellini said. The company “will have greater inventory visibility for its customers, operational improvements, expanded value-added service tracking, and better orchestration of warehouse tasks,” it said.

The technology upgrade also reflects wider trends in the larger world of retail, including when it comes to food. Wholesalers are increasingly turning to more sophisticated digital processes for their logistical operations, technology that can help smooth out distribution tasks while also doing better at spotting emerging trends and shifts in customer behavior.