Frequently Asked Questions

Spelling It Out

Typically CEOs, CEOs of Merchandising CEOs of Supply Chain, and CIOs get it in 2 seconds. If you are unclear, don’t worry! An easy and fast engagement running a proof of concept will settle it and show the commercial benefits to this approach.
How are you different to intelligent ERPs or retail softwares?
By Oracle, SAP, JDA, Manhattan, Antuit, SAS, Symphony and so forth? Ask yourself why 3 of the largest retailers in the world, despite having all of those systems, have each spent 9 figures acquiring or investing in what we’re democratizing to you! Those are applications for your merchandising and supply chain workflow. You’ll need those for now. In their view, we complement them. We however are a unified forecasting-as-a-service engine linking all disparate systems. Our prediction engine feeds you forecasts, in other words displaying the best decision to take at any time. The forecasts are contextual to each merchandising or supply chain user’s question or scenario. Then our engine continuously learns from results to better itself and therefore you as a retailer, thanks to its feedback loop. This drives superior business results due to unquestionably better prediction accuracy, speed, scale, affordability, and time to deploy. We’re not smarter or anything, these are incomparable and unique products. They’re backfilling their applications with AI. We appreciate and love their efforts but they are so complex and tricky to work with. We’ve built a central, AI-first system which your entire internal users rely on, and their interfaces all link to. Not thousands of less accurate predictions in days. We do millions of more accurate predictions in minutes (or real time). And we can deploy within days. Most importantly it’s directed to retailing use cases and results across the business.
And different to our data science initiative, or consultancy?
Big difference. We assume your team or transformation engagement (regardless if they are 10 or 100 people) are focused on key internal projects to show which decisions lead to ROI. Completely fine, let them continue, we love that. We though are not a project. We are a robust, productized, enterprise solution for your entire retail value chain to call on for a highly contextual answer (to an assortment, pricing, replenishment, etc.) decisions. Per SKU, per store, per day (or more). You can hit the system millions of times a day all with a click of a button and get the answers in minutes, not hours, not days, not months. It’s far simpler, but inside we have sophisticated algorithms from global research and efforts too, which by default takes it to the next level. This platform acts as a single source of truth for all merchandising functions in your business. And our engine’s feedback loop ensures that the platform learns from results and serves your users better, to create everlasting value. That way your data isn’t just centralized, but you are codifying your retailing IP. Most importantly, we are not tackling theoretical opportunities from an academic viewpoint, but resolving very specific business challenges.
Difference to cloud based Forecasting-as-a-Service platforms?
This is what we are. Except we are specifically focused on retail only. That will always mean the best business results for you. Retailing data is extremely specific to ingest and learn (inventory movements, promo calendars, product attributes etc.). We ensemble the best algorithms globally so you get the best of all worlds (not just rely on our own algorithms like an Amazon Forecast). We’re solid at the hard nuanced stuff (intermittent sales, no sales history, high seasonality, price elasticity, trend/event driven, etc.). You also can’t tune those blackbox systems to your liking, or expect them to provide a contextual answer to say a markdown, ranging, or allocation decision. It’s a no contest the more we explain it. Furthermore we come with retail expertise in defining the real world opportunity or challenge, and solving it, rather than just giving you a blackbox tool and say “you figure out how to make or save money!”.
Do you integrate with our ERPs or provide Modules/Interfaces?
You probably have plenty of applications, planning softwares, or ERPs we can plug into, so they can “call” the engine for predictions contextual to the user’s merchandising scenario. As a cloud based forecasting engine as a service, we do the extremely hard part of being the “brain”, and present our millions of predictions via APIs or a dashboard. So yes, we integrate with ERPs as we do not sell pre-made applications (modules/interfaces) at the moment. So long as it’s the best and quickest way to start delivering value. If you don’t, or we mutually feel achieving metrics/results is best done another way, we (or your team, or a development partner) can create a customized tool/interface perfect to your use case, goal, and business. FYI we are finding retailers prefer a simple tailored tool/interface as a means to both solving business needs and evaluate the engine for business wide implementation. End of the day we care about your business and are passionate about problem solving.

Trust & Partnership

That’s how we work with C-Suite. We do not push sales. If we haven’t covered you here, please contact us to have an open conversation. Whilst predictions and bottom line benefits happen in real time, the decisions for change and innovation take longer.
How are you more accurate, faster, and wider in function?
The key is we are different to big name applications which add AI to themselves, or data science initiatives. We are a unified AI system that sit at the core of a retailer, and various users in merchandising and supply chain can leverage it (via your existing applications) to make the best decisions. This allows us to use advanced machine learning and statistical methods for time series data that are either proprietary or from leading scientific research, fit for retail’s nuances. The best algorithm for each granular situation is automatically selected too, rather than 1 or a few algorithms to rule all your forecasts. Our IP allows us to generate so many forecasts in a very fast timeframe; most importantly correct to various business scenarios without endlessly re-running predictions. This consists of knowledge representation theory, streaming architecture, and novel machine learning techniques. That’s part of why this approach drives bottom line.
What results can we expect? When?
In terms of mid-long term plans, having our central forecasting engine underpin your entire retail business depends on you. You may decide to take a couple months or a couple years. However our objective is to immediately demonstrate qualitative and quantitative value creation. As a result, we can understand if you initially focusing on specific (and large) merchandising areas or categories where there’s tangible opportunity or struggle, which we can help outline. Therefore in terms of short term plans, we deploy immediately to a mutually relevant area clear to metrics. Days to figure out the plan, weeks until it’s delivered. Then minutes or real time (not hours or days) to get predictions back every time you use the system. Now if you say months that’s to get started, that’s too slow. We’ll fly someone to you and get it done immediately. Results genuinely depend on your business. Saying we will achieve x% uplift to gross margin and sell through in markdowns, or x% decrease to inventory holdings in replenishment, is purely non sense. It depends on your business, and instead we will create a clear proposition on all that within days.
How much does the platform cost?
Our license fee depends on how intensely its used. We firmly believe this significant innovation is an ROI positive initiative. We pride ourselves on a transparent and easy sales process. Please contact sales@demandforecasting.com
What’s with the retro-future theme?
That era probably had the most innovative, futuristic, and bold outlook for the world. Machine learning involves looking into the past to predict the future too. Most of all we’re just not boring enterprise people. We’ve shopped other solutions. It’s painful, like pulling teeth! They can’t give you a straight answer. They talk in circles. They talk too much tech. They are slow. Enterprise sales is dead. So that way of enterprise buying is dead. We want all our interactions to be enjoyable, value creating, and aligned to how a retailer works.

Accomplishments

NZ’s Largest Retailer & Group
Australia’s Largest Pharmacy Retailer
Largest Consulting Firm In Australasia