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PLN 20 million for the development of Occubee. The platform will support retailers and manufacturers in supply chain automation

Kamil Folkert, CSO at 3Soft and a co-founder of Occubee, talks to Wiadomości Handlowe about how Big Data technologies and machine learning algorithms can support retailers and manufacturers in supply chain automation.

Supply chain management is fraught with many challenges, as manufacturers and retailers find out every day. In response to this, we created Occubee – software offered in a SaaS model that helps optimize and automate processes in the areas of replenishment and demand management. Now, with funding from investors, we intend to develop and commercialize it globally. To begin with, in CEE and LATAM countries.

Retail is successfully using new technologies, including systems based on artificial intelligence, advanced analytics and cloud computing. The leading direction in the development of the retail market is automation and digitization of processes.

Where is retail heading?

According to BDO Research’s 2021 survey, nearly half of the retailers surveyed have already digitized their supply chains, and 43 percent intend to do so in the coming year. These responses come as no surprise, as the development of strategic areas of companies’ operations (such as supply chain) in a data-driven spirit is not only the ticket to increasing the value of companies, but is actually necessary for them to survive in the market.

What is more, advanced data analytics based on artificial intelligence and machine learning, and process automation which it makes possible, have in recent years become a shield for retailers in the face of challenges, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic and geopolitical turmoil, broken supply chains and staff shortages. At the same time, they allow retailers to cope more effectively with new market conditions dictated by inflation, booming e-commerce, growing consumer demands, and other factors. This applies to all sectors, from FMCG, electronics, through home furnishings to fashion and children’s goods.

SaaS for supply chain optimization and automation

Following observations from the retail market and in light of technological megatrends, 3Soft S.A. created Occubee – advanced sales and demand forecasting software. To create the platform, we used many years of experience and key competencies in the areas of Data Science, Data Management and Business Automation. The final result is a product offered in a SaaS model that addresses the challenges of the retail industry while responding to the need for process optimization.

Occubee allows our customers to build competitive advantage, increase sales and reduce costs, in a relatively short time after implementation. Through the use of Big Data technology and machine learning algorithms, it makes it possible to analyze large data sets and make fuller use of the knowledge they contain. At the strategic level, it allows business decisions to be made based on facts rather than intuition. At the operational level, it supports the automation of repetitive tasks, which often account for most of the activities necessary to ensure business continuity. This gives employees time for matters that require their special attention, creativity and expertise.

Kamil Folkert, PhD, Chief Revenue Officer at Occubee

Measurable impact on business

According to McKinsey Digital, by predicting demand based on AI models, it is possible to reduce lost sales due to inventory shortages by 65 percent and reduce warehousing costs by 10-40 percent. Predicting future business events based on advanced data analysis leads to more effective strategic decisions and operational improvements. AI and Machine Learning are used to analyze customer trends and preferences, optimize product offers, streamline the generation of production orders or orders to suppliers, and more.

Occubee allows automating the supply chain primarily in the areas of replenishment and demand management. Sales and demand forecasting plays an essential role here. Forecasts are generated based on historical sales data, which drive the training of machine learning models. In addition to these, other internal variables (e.g., price lists, store locations, marketing campaigns) and external variables (e.g., weather, holidays) are taken into account. The result are high-quality forecasts that facilitate planning of store and warehouse stocking, over short (e.g., daily) as well as long (6-12 month) time horizons.

The solution is an “open box” one and it is scalable. It allows users to define their own business processes and configure a number of parameters specific to a particular business case. The system runs in the cloud, which ensures effective monitoring of data flow in real time. This makes it possible, among other things, to generate alerts when business anomalies are observed in the data flowing in real time.

Game changer for mid-sized retailers

As Occubee’s creators emphasize, AI-based solutions are not reserved only for retail giants. Companies representing the midmarket face the same challenges. However, due to smaller scale of operations and financial resources, among other factors, they need ready-made IT tools. Tools that they will be able to implement without having to bear expenses by building their own data centers, purchasing expensive IT infrastructure or changing their transaction systems.

It is not only the largest corporations and multinational retailers that can benefit from the power of AI. Occubee proves it. We created this product mainly for medium-sized and growing retailers who have historical data to forecast future business events. The SaaS model makes it financially attractive and business efficient. In this way, we lower the barrier to entry and make it easier to implement AI in smaller-scale companies.

Kamil Folkert, PhD, Chief Revenue Officer at Occubee

Investors have faith in Occubee

Occubee premiered in September 2020. Since then, the tool’s developer, 3Soft S.A. – has acquired customers in Poland and Mexico, and has significantly expanded its production, consulting and commercial teams. Now the development and commercialization of the tool enter a new phase, thanks to an investment agreement with the Warsaw Equity Group (WEG) fund and Cezary Smorszczewski. The total investment amounts to PLN 20 million.

From the moment we started building our product, we have been thinking of Occubee as a global brand, and scaling the business is a priority in our long-term operating strategy. The funds from this investment round will allow us to pursue our ambitious plans and strengthen our market position. We will intensify our sales activities in the Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America. We see great potential in the commercialization of our tool in developing countries, where adoption of solutions of this kind remains relatively low.

Michał Koziara, Chief Executive Officer of 3Soft S.A.

The company has already begun to put these plans into action. Sales teams are in place in Poland and Mexico. By the end of 2023, the total number of Occubee staff is to be doubled.

Link (article in Polish).

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