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Thursday 25 April 2019


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M&S partners for autonomous supply chains

Written by Hannah McGrath

Marks and Spencer is to participate in the development of an autonomous supply chain network, after its lead technology partners announced they would work together to accelerate research into human-machine collaboration.

The High Street retailer announced its involvement with the technology being developed jointly by Tata Consultancy Services and JDA Software - both technology partners leading the retailer’s £25 million digital transformation programme.

The so-called cognitive supply chain solutions, which will rely upon artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in new human-machine functions to process orders, inventory and product delivery.

The ultimate goal for the partnership is for businesses to be able to realise outcome-based supply chain transformations, enabling complete supply chain visibility and prescriptive recommendations enabling more accurate business decisions and better customer services.

Carl Dawson, chief information officer at M&S, said:“The ability to transition towards an autonomous supply chain working hand-in-hand with TCS and JDA presents the opportunity to give us the complete supply chain visibility we need, combined with recommendations to make profitable business decisions.”

The announcement comes as M&S accelerates the progress of its digital transformation programme, which is aimed at reorienting the High Street retailer towards a digital first approach as consumer spending shifts online.

Last month it was reported that the retailer was in talks with grocery delivery and logistics firm Ocado over a potential tie up to expand the retailer’s dedicated online food business.

M&S also announced that its digital transformation programme would result in the closure of a further 17 stores as part of plans to shutter 100 by 2022.

So far its digital transformation strategy has involved partnerships with technology firms for services including in-store charging, call centre automation and AI-powered photo search.

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