Last week, The Parker Avery Group enthusiastically announced the addition of Mathematics PhD, George Arutyunyants to our firm, bringing a deeper focus on retail and consumer goods analytics into our existing team of industry professionals. I have worked with George for 14 years at former companies, and I am thrilled to continue our working partnership at Parker Avery, further advancing our efforts in the analytics space.
There are many “advanced analytics” offerings being touted by retail and consumer goods solution vendors and blogged by industry pundits. Especially now, given the hyper-critical nature of strategic decisions as the industry emerges from the pandemic environment, a solid grasp of our data, the implementation of advanced analytics, and the resulting intelligence are needed more than ever.
Intelligence is the key—while machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) do make seemingly compelling arguments, the industry needs much more than analytics.
That ‘much more’ is Parker Avery’s Tailored intelligence.
Tailored Intelligence represents the infusion of cutting-edge analytics with some of the industry’s most experienced business process and change management professionals. This holistic approach results in meaningful results and greater financial benefit for our clients.
You have likely read about or attended one or more of our Reconstructing Retail webinar series, during which we emphasize that Parker Avery is here to help. Above all, our goal is to be a trusted advisor to our clients—through the good times and challenging times equally. We are fortunate to have enjoyed strong professional and personal relationships with many of our clients. Parker Avery’s Tailored Intelligence line of services allows us to deepen that relationship by staying connected as we help them integrate, design, and adopt new and better ways of operating, propelled by advanced analytics, industry leading business practices, and practical change tactics adapted to their unique environments.
As a firm, The Parker Avery Group has completed countless software selection projects for our clients, across the broad spectrum of retail business functions: merchandise financial planning, assortment planning, pricing and promotions, and so on. During these initiatives, the guiding principal always is to integrate our knowledge of industry solutions and best practices while maintaining objectivity to determine the solution that meets a company’s desired future-state business and technical requirements. Bottom line: we meet our client’s needs by suggesting the best solution that meets their unique requirements.
We hold this same principal with Tailored Intelligence: what our clients need may not always be our own intelligence offerings. It does no good to claim we are a trusted, objective advisor, and then push a solution set that is not the best fit for a client. At the end of the day, Parker Avery and our partners do well when our client’s needs are most optimally satisfied. For our solution partners, we continue to supplement their execution systems with a wider range of retail and consumer goods industry expertise.
All that being said, I’d like to give a brief overview of Parker Avery’s Tailored Intelligence, and why we are enthusiastically offering this array of services.
What is Parker Avery’s Tailored Intelligence?
The proliferation and increasing quality of open source AI and ML tools with the combination of cloud computing has led to an explosion of the application of AI. Data science departments and analytics programs are becoming ubiquitous throughout many industries—retailers and consumer goods companies are no exception.
Evolution of algorithms is happening at an ever-faster rate. Retail has seen AI/ML infiltrate every aspect of the business from planning and pricing to fulfillment and operations. Amazon has been leading this charge with great success. There is no question that the landscape is changing rapidly, and current events are expediting the matter.
What remains is the need for insights to be seamlessly integrated into existing business processes. Because we believe full automation in many parts of the business is still a long way off, the ultimate decisions across enterprises are still made by people. The value garnered from AI/ML integration rests with them. Therefore, any integration of artificial intelligence must be tailored to the decision makers. Any recommendation provided through machine learning must make the decision more intuitive by providing the accompanying insight into why the recommendation is being made. Lack of such insight from the analytics, regardless of the quality of the recommendation, renders it superfluous.
Pursuit of cutting-edge analytics is important, but it is only one component of what is necessary to realize value in the age of AI.
We have decades of hands-on experience architecting and implementing demand platforms for some of the world’s largest consumer packaged goods and retail clients. Innovation and incorporation of the latest AI/ML algorithms led to accurate recommendations that were only financially measurable when they were trusted by the organization. We learned that the process required to build the trust was generally the most time intensive and the financial results were thus seen over time. This process, although successful, is fraught with risk. I’ll explain.
Too often, major implementations of analytical systems fail not because of the quality of the data, science, and algorithms—but because of the misalignment with the business process, lack of clarity of the recommendation, and the organization’s hesitation to understand and accept the new way of thinking and operating. Parker Avery’s Tailored Intelligence bridges those gaps.
The journey into analytics should always begin with the business decisions in mind. What would make the final decision-maker move forward with a given allocation method or a replenishment suggested order quantity, take the suggested markdown, or keep from overwriting the forecast in the demand plan? A hindsight analysis of the decision, though useful, can be short circuited by process design and a change management plan that starts before the data is ever pulled for implementation.
So that—at a very high-level—is Parker Avery’s Tailored Intelligence. It is a journey of seamlessly interweaving the analytics and business process by professionals who have had to make retail and consumer goods business decisions countless times under varying circumstances.
It is AI/ML tailored to your challenges.
If you would like to learn more, please click here to visit Parker Avery’s website. If you’re ready to have a conversation to understand how Tailored Intelligence can help your business, please reach out to us.
Cover image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay