A Success Story with a Major Retailer

by | Apr 16, 2020

These days, the COVID-19 pandemic colors nearly all news —and rightly so.

Case in point: this article would typically be a victory lap for Smarter Sorting touting the fact we have revamped the regulated product supply chain of one of the largest retailers in the world.

Usually, this milestone would be the story—the only story—we’d be screaming from the mountaintops. Alas, these are not usual times. 

While we are incredibly proud of this accomplishment, we’re also hyper-aware that the world has pressing work to do—now. 

So instead, I’d like to share how Smarter Sorting is helping battle the pandemic through the lens of this new partnership and give you an update on exciting developments with our Classification Portal.  

It’s my hope this insight inspires potential partners to come forward and harness the power of our platform as we all work together to stop the spread.

Retail partnership helps in the COVID-19 fight

If you’ve been to the store lately, you’ve seen the empty shelves. This scenario is especially true for regulated products, such as household disinfectants. Retail supply chains are struggling to keep up because the current supply chain model is, frankly, a mess.

Regulated products are subject to highly complicated laws that govern everything from product manufacturing to transportation to sales to disposal. Compliance confusion can lead to soaring expenses for all supply chain stakeholders (as well as delayed product launches). At the same time, product safety and environmental sustainability are too often afterthoughts in the process.

Our largest retail partner noticed this broken system, too. Fortunately, our plug-in-play platform gave them a supply chain upgrade almost instantly. We recently finished a pilot program with this partner, which provided valuable insight into how our platform will optimize operations moving forward.

-Using our platform’s Classification Portal, our partner’s entire supply chain—buyers and merchandisers, compliance officers, operation managers, finance directors, and suppliers—can immediately access and understand the attributes and classifications of all regulated products in our retail partner’s inventory. In particular, suppliers can create and communicate the data (such as chemical information) needed to ensure the handling of regulated products in the most compliant, cost-effective, and safe manner. 

-Efforts to effectively address COVID-19 often require heavily regulated chemical products, so decision-making regarding compliant disposal is critical. Smarter Sorting provides our retail partner with clear, accurate direction for the most environmentally sustainable, safe, and cost-effective path forward for every product, every time. These decisions save money, safeguard employees with reliable management directions, and protect our planet. As part of a pilot program, state toxic waste streams were reduced by up to 30 percent in participating stores, and item processing times decreased by 77 percent.

-Products that previously took weeks (or months!) to arrive at shelves from suppliers are now available in a fraction of the time (days)—including COVID-combating disinfectants.

-Better data gives our retail partner full confidence in regulated product decisions where confidence once lagged—including an ability to sell more COVID-fighting products online. This optimization has led to new revenue and more potentially life-saving product in consumer hands.

-Unsellable—but useable products, such as COVID-applicable disinfectants—can now be donated to organizations that can use them effectively (such as nonprofits) at the direction of our platform. Previously, these products likely would have been incinerated or tossed out. Nearly 80,000 lbs of product were diverted from disposal to donation in just a single month during the pilot program.

Classification Portal: Initial reviews are positive

How is this supply chain optimization happening now, even amid worldwide chaos?

It starts with our Classification Portal. The portal is powered by Smarter Sorting’s Automated Classification Engine (ACE), which utilizes machine learning, computational chemistry, and regulatory artificial intelligence to ensure our classifications are accurate and delivered promptly. Together, ACE and the Classification Portal help simplify product registration, reduce data entry, expedite product time-to-shelf, and ensure safe, compliant product management by all supply chain stakeholders.

The final result? A complete “Product Genome” (a full account of all product traits and classifications) that enables every stakeholder to make the right decision for every product, every time—and in every conceivable supply chain scenario. 

A complete Product Genome makes difficult decisions much more manageable. For example:

-Retailers can advise customers whether a disinfectant is compatible with another product.

-Manufacturers could potentially modify a disinfectant formula based on the latest scientific research, and instantly convey changes across the supply chain.

We help fix what’s broken in your supply chain ecosystem using technology that gives you quick, accurate results during a period of history when “quick” is critical. Better data means the capacity to make better, faster, and safer decisions for both employees and customers.

So far, as our retail partner has implemented the system, the returns have been very positive. Several major consumer product brands have utilized our Classification Portal, and we’ve heard good things from product data management professionals and compliance professionals who have accessed the platform. Our favorite?

“This does not exist anywhere else on the market.” 

-Regulatory Professional at major consumer product brand

Time is of the essence, and the time to optimize your supply chain is now—and we can help.

Want more specifics of how our partnership has helped transform retail supply chain operations? We encourage you to read the attached case study, and then get in touch with us.