CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
November 16, 2018
Forward Thinking

JDA acquires artificial intelligence firm Blue Yonder

The deal will add pricing optimization and forecasting replenishment to supply chain software suite, JDA says.

Supply chain technology firm JDA Software Group Inc. has acquired the German artificial intelligence provider Blue Yonder GmbH in a move it said would allow its Luminate platform of software products to generate more automated decisions and forecasts.

Scottsdale, Arizona-based JDA launched its Luminate platform in May, saying the platform would extend existing JDA applications by using artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics to improve users' ability to predict consumer demand and deliver faster fulfillment.

Adding additional AI and machine learning capabilities from the new acquisition will allow JDA users to make business decisions autonomously without human intervention. Additionally JDA customers will benefit from the addition of Blue Yonder's Life-Cycle Price Optimization, Store Replenishment, and Advanced Forecasting solutions.

JDA did not disclose the terms of the deal, saying the acquisition had not yet closed. The deal is expected to close in August, pending approval by German authorities, said Beth Elkin, JDA's group vice president for marketing.

Following the completion of the deal, Blue Yonder will continue to operate under its current name. Company CEO Uwe Weiss will join JDA's Operating Committee, while Blue Yonder Founder Michael Feindt will provide ongoing thought and innovation leadership to both companies, the firms said.

Karlsruhe, Germany-based Blue Yonder operates in Europe and the U.S., providing AI and machine learning services to retail customers such as U.K. supermarket chain WM Morrisons and German e-commerce company Otto Group, which is also one of Blue Yonder's investors.

Applying data science techniques to the retail supply chain could produce improvements in areas from retail and supply chain planning to execution, labor management, and omnichannel delivery, JDA said. Specifically, AI can automatically generate business decisions in situations such as improving retail pricing, promotions, markdowns, and replenishment capabilities, JDA said. Blue Yonder's forecasting capabilities can also create benefits with fast and short lifecycle products, leading to less waste, optimized labor, and improved sustainability in the fresh food chain, according to JDA.

More broadly, Blue Yonder's cloud-based machine learning algorithms will help JDA make progress toward its goal of creative an "autonomous supply chain" that delivers predictive, prescriptive, and self-learning capabilities for its users, JDA CEO Girish Rishi said in a video statement about the deal.

Ben Ames is Editor at Large and a Senior Editor at Supply Chain Quarterly’s sister publication, DC Velocity.

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