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Research from RELEX and leading universities

Automatic replenishment systems becoming more common

The leading universities in the field of logistics research, Aalto University School of Technology and Zürich University of Applied Sciences ZHAW have researched the development of replenishment systems in the retail sector together with RELEX. The research results indicate that automatic replenishment systems have become increasingly common during the last four years and this trend seems to continue.

The study from Aalto University concentrated on retail companies in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. From 61 companies that were interviewed, 42 % have centralized the responsibility for placing replenishment orders. The study is a follow-up for a research conducted in 2007 that analyzed Nordic companies. When comparing findings of the two studies, it can be noted that automatic replenishment systems have become more common: in the year 2007 only 20 % of the companies utilized automatic ordering whereas the number is currently 51 percent.

The study from ZHAW in Zürich focused on the retailers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. 53 companies answered in the survey and 47 % told that they have centralized the placing of replenishment orders. To conclude, Central Europe seems slightly ahead of the Nordic countries in terms of the percentage number using centralized replenishment ordering.

Research from RELEX and the leading universities points out that companies encounter similar challenges in replenishment ordering in different countries. For instance, the replenishment of campaigns and novelties is among the greatest challenges according to both of the studies. However, automatic replenishment systems seem to be the trend. According to both of the studies, companies with automatic systems are more satisfied with the current situation than companies with large manual intervention.

Based on the results from the cutting-edge research, RELEX believes that growth-oriented companies in the Nordics and Central Europe will continue to implement centralized and automatic replenishment systems.