One Centralized Platform.
Moving Forward as the Best in Fresh Speaking With... Joe Smirlies, SVP, Product, Invafresh
“Fresh is more
dependent on human-technology relationships & understanding.”
In May 2021, Invafresh unveiled a bold new brand when the company announced a name change from Invatron to Invafresh to reflect its strategic focus on the fresh food experience. Now, six months post-rebrand, Progressive Grocer reached out to Joe Smirlies, SVP of Product, who is recognized as one of the world’s foremost experts in sustainable Fresh Item Management solutions, to learn more about how the company’s Freshology™ platform is helping global grocers re-energize their fresh food operations, improve in-store performance, and delight the consumer experience.
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are done well, they can save the industry from disruptive new competition and shrinking center store traffic and profits. PG How important is it for intelligent fresh forecasting to be flexible and to be made to work with human intuition? JS Non-fresh (center-store) operations often leave little room for human intuition, opinions, and interpretations. In fresh, they are always a factor. Fresh is more dependent on human-technology relationships and understanding, so trusting insights, forecasts, work orders, and recommendations provided by algorithms require a higher level of trust and confidence. Most problems in fresh are forecasting and data problems. An intelligent demand sensing engine proactively forecasts to luminate anomalies, inefficiencies, and resource waste in operations and supply, and anticipate consumer demand accurately in the moments to avoid shrink and shortage. All processes work effectively with a unified fresh forecast from corporate to store level that help grocers to produce just-in-time and on-demand with the freshest product quality and consistency.
Progressive Grocer Invafresh has made the commitment to inspire the world to “think forward and think fresh.” Why is now the right time for grocery retailers to focus on fresh? Joe Smirlies Consumer behavior is changing. The pandemic, climate change and urbanization are prompting consumers to pay more attention to health and wellness, convenience, safety, and the sustainability of their food choices. These food-aware and digitally empowered ‘consumers of tomorrow’ are not only putting new pressures on the grocery industry, but also awakening opportunities for grocery retailers.
With the new landscape comes challenges. Waste, assortment, labor, and operational complexity are increasingly difficult to manage in fresh. But when those things
PG The fear of food waste and disrupting margins often lead to grocers missing out on high-performing SKUs, and in turn sales. How does intelligent fresh forecasting provide the confidence and reliability needed to improve sales? JS We believe there are four key points: For a category that is sensitive to time, fresh forecasts need to respond to quick shifts in demand or slice the day into hourly production periods. Fresh requires a platform that leverages the computational power
to deliver on its promises. It needs to be used every day as a new insight into what the next day might require.
In fresh, experience still matters in this modern world of machine learning technologies. Taking advantage of fresh centric data analysis expedites and maximizes the benefits of machine learning forecasting algorithms.
A fresh forecasting engine needs to consider that human intuition and observations still play an active role in the process. PG What are the key differentiators between an AI-enhanced fresh forecast engine and a legacy system? JS AI-based machine learning uses advanced recursive techniques that can be more effective in modeling patterns providing quicker pathways to introduce new data inputs that can offer additional insights to demand versus the legacy model. A fresh food retail platform needs to leverage the myriad of inputs readily available from retailers while augmenting it with relevant insights traditionally not available. More specifically, an intelligent fresh forecast engine needs to deliver a single source of the truth from consumer to store to warehouse that can also deliver flexible relevant forecasts to production and replenishment periods. PG Any final thoughts you’d like to share? JS We are here to inspire the world to think forward and think fresh. The Invafresh platform is designed to help grocers manage fresh food retail operations in ways that will keep the category vital and relevant...and position them to win and lead in fresh — today and for the future.
TO LEARN MORE VISIT WWW.INVAFRESH.COM.