ACA builds an automatic stock management system for Medi-Market
Medi-Market is a chain of parapharmacies of the Belgian company Medi-Market Group and is active in the pharmacy and parapharmacy industry. It’s Medi-Market’s goal to make the most extensive range of high quality products accessible to as many people as possible at the lowest price. Medi-Market has about 40 points of sale spread over Belgium, France and Italy.
The challenge: customized stock management
With a new application for stock management, Medi-market wanted to optimize the stock in their stores and warehouses as much as possible. This way, Medi-Market can reduce its inventory costs and make sure there’s a lower risk to have products with an expired date in their inventory.
The new application for stock management had to be tailored to its users as well, i.e. the store managers of Medi-Market. For these users, it’s vital that looking up products in the integrated product catalog goes as quickly as possible. Additionally, Medi-Market wanted the application to be easy to understand and to use.
Lastly, with regards to its growth and expansion abroad, Medi-Market asked for an application that is easily expandable and adaptable.
Our solution: user-friendly and efficient application for automatic stock management
For the construction of the new application for stock management, we opted for an event-driven architecture. In practice, this means that the high-performance application handles and updates everything in real time. For example, the search function immediately shows up-to-date search results from Medi-Market’s catalog that contains more than 43.000 products.
Smart and autonomous stock management
The new application uses ‘smart’ stock management. This means that the Automatic Stock Replenishment (ASR) application determines the optimum stock required for each store based on a number of parameters. For example, the system takes the number of items sold from a previous period into account.
As soon as the stock in a store falls below the calculated minimum stock, the application autonomously orders the correct products in the correct quantities from the warehouse until the optimal quantity of stock has been reached again.With a proof-of-concept that uses artificial intelligence (AI), we’ve also shown that we can really go above and beyond in this. We found out that Medi-Market could reduce inventory costs by a staggering 75%. Want to know how? Click here to read our blog post where we discuss this proof-of-concept.
User-friendly with a clean UI
To make the ASR-application for manual operation as user-friendly as possible and to offer an effective UI, we conducted user interviews with store managers. Based on their feedback, we then built the UI and UX of the application. As a result, these store managers can now do most of the actions within the application with a scanner, without having to use their computer mice. As a result, manual actions take up less time and are much easier to perform.
Store managers can also use the application to:
- pass on orders to internal and external suppliers,
- follow up promotions and orders,
- and return products to the distribution center and external suppliers.
Flexible and cost-effective hosting
Thanks to an innovative cloud solution based on AWS and Kubernetes, we were able to provide Medi-Market with cost-efficient hosting that scales flexibly. The Kubernetes platform ensures the correct management of the various applications, support and monitoring tools that run within Medi-Market. This means that the ASR application only runs at the capacity that is required at that moment. As soon as more or less capacity is needed or when new applications are added, Kubernetes scales the hosting up or down. Because of the uniform set-up of the Kubernetes platform, additional applications or support tools can be set up quickly without needing a lot of prior development work.
The Kubernetes platform also supports ‘auto-healing’. This means that broken hardware or a crashing machine are automatically detected and replaced, with only a minimal impact on performance or availability of the application. Using Kubernetes’ auto-healing, users can continue working without noticing any problems.
Medi-Market can also count on our expertise in terms of support. Accurate monitoring and automatic alerts enable us to intervene quickly when necessary. At the end of 2019, Medi-Market disconnected their old application for stock management. Since then, our Automatic Stock Replenishment application processes all stock movements.
With ASR, we now can manage our store orders in a user-friendly and efficient way. It optimizes both the creation or generation and follow-up of the different types of order. It also facilitates the follow-up of our central services. In addition, managing the stock in the stores has become a lot easier and more transparent.— Peter Bos, CIO at Medi-Market
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