TCS supports Woolworths with AI-driven aisle optimisation

19 April 2023 2 min. read

Juggling over 1,200 product categories across 1,450 outlets nationwide, retail giant Woolworths concluded it needed to be more agile in managing space, tapping long-term partner Tata Consultancy Services for support.

Now spanning more than two decades, the latest step in the partnership between Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Woolworths has seen the supermarket giant adopt the AI-driven platform Optumera from TCS to help it better optimise the use of space.

According to the parties, sales plans can now be delivered five times faster and with greater customisation across its 1,450 stores than through the previous manual process, while remodels can be completed at twice the pace.

TCS supports Woolworths with AI-driven aisle optimisation

“TCS Optumera allows us to simulate scenarios and see the impact of our decisions,” said Woolworths strategic initiatives senior manager, Murtaza Nawab. “The step-by-step explanation for each recommendation makes it much easier to craft a business case and get buy-in. Supermarkets always want to optimise space, but what TCS Optumera enables us to do is to do it on a smarter, faster, and better scale across multiple brands and geographies.”

The “always-on dynamic aisle optimisation” tool constantly looks out for opportunities to drive sales and profitability, leveraging artificial intelligence technology and Woolworths own data insights to recommend improvements within seconds, preventing the costly trial and error of physically testing scenarios ahead of time.

Woolworths currently manages more than 1,200 product categories across its Australian and New Zealand portfolio.

“We need to constantly differentiate our customers’ proposition, expand our product portfolio, and ensure that our product lines and the range resonates with the local preferences,” said Woolworths data and retail analytics general manager Doug Frank. “This means driving more store remodels and refits, and optimising space to make way for new product lines. The ability to experiment and execute space strategies swiftly can be a game changer.”

Extended in 2021, Woolworths and TCS have now had a relationship going back 25 years, with previous transformation projects including data & analytics upgrades, a SAP implementation and roll-out, supply chain enhancements, and the establishment of a DevOps team to enable agile working. The partners also recently completed a SAP cloud migration to Microsoft Azure, one of the largest such projects ever undertaken in the Asia Pacific.

“We are extremely delighted that TCS Optumera has been able to deliver Woolworths substantial benefits, significant improvement in sales and enabling sales plans five times faster,” said Sydney-based TCS relationship director Kirthi Duvoor, who has spent more than two decades at the firm. “These are results that we at TCS are extremely proud of, as it brings demonstrable success and conviction to our algo retail proposition.”