Ahead in the Clouds: Blue Ridge Unified Solution

Marietta, Ga.Mar. 3, 2014—Supply chain planning provider Blue Ridge announced the availability of its fully integrated retail Cloud Supply Chain Planning solution. The company’s demand-driven forecasting, planning, allocation and replenishment solutions analyze every shopper purchase to provide precise forecasting and visibility to every tier in the supply chain.

The Blue Ridge solutions leverage consumer demand to drive forecasts, then translate demand and other data to create plans, replenishment recommendations, and to comply with supply and logistics constraints. This single solution suite is integrated, coordinated and optimized in the cloud. The capacity provided by its cloud platform enables Blue Ridge to provide significant precision and scalability, while simplifying deployment for today’s omni-channel retailer.

Deploying these solutions, global retailer Home Hardware and industrial safety goods retailer Procurator recognized significant improvements in product availability, simultaneously eliminating excess inventory, increasing sales, cash flow and operating income.

The need for seamless solutions was identified by analyst reports stating that demand-shaping activities like promotions operate outside the visibility of supply chain solutions, leading to gaps between consumer demand and product availability. “Enterprises today have more and more methods to influence demand,” stated Blue Ridge CEO Greg White, “We capture that influence, and close the gap to ensure product is available precisely where and when the consumer wants to purchase it.”

In preparing to enable this precise alignment, Blue Ridge identified that many enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain solutions operate as modules, requiring costly integration between forecasting, planning, ordering and other functions. The company’s leaders felt this introduced unnecessary risk to retailers.

“The reason so many solutions are modular is that they aren’t built specifically for retail,” stated White. “They are sales forecasting solutions, or manufacturing solutions, or solutions adapted from banking or hospitality to the retail business. We’ve seen that this introduces unnecessary work, risk and cost … so we connected everything.”

The Blue Ridge team realized that the tactic of many solution providers to try to serve many masters  served retailers poorly. The leadership’s experience in retail supply chain convinced them that the many unique dynamics of retail required solutions that apply sound retail-focused fundamentals and deliver solutions that are solely for retailers.

Blue Ridge also sought to address complexities that arose with the emergence of e-commerce, mobile commerce and other sales channels. “Many organizations treat their e-commerce, brick-and-mortar operations and other channels as distinct entities; and they plan inventory differently for each, creating inefficiencies in the supply chain,” stated White. “Our unified demand management capabilities allow enterprises to manage diverse entities as one integrated network.” The Blue Ridge CEO stated that when retailers can forecast, plan position and replenish inventory across all sales channels, as well as optimize each tier of the supply chain, the effects for the enterprise are game-changing.

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