Photo Credit: SAP

If day one and day two of SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference were about process and technology, day three’s main theme centered on people—specifically, customers with stories to tell and philanthropists. SAP brought out executives from sports brand Adidas and warehouse store Costco Wholesale in the keynote, along with rocker Jon Bon Jovi, founder of the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation to help the homeless in Philadelphia.

SAP Leonardo for a New Retail Supply Chain

Adidas CIO Michael Voegele took the stage to describe how the company is changing the way it handles the retail supply chain using data. “Digital and technology are enablers to achieve what we set out to do—change lives and be the best sports brand in the world,” he said. But to do that, Adidas needs to build a direct relationship with the consumer.

To help strengthen that relationship, Adidas has created a concept store/factory using machine learning. The consumer designs their customized apparel in the store, and it’s then shipped to them within 24 hours. Now, the Adidas concept booth on the show floor made even more sense: The idea behind using SAP Leonardo is not only for Adidas to predict trends, but also to get these products made using body scans and customer preferences. This drastically reduces supply chain time. Adidas has opened one of these “speed factory” stores outside Atlanta as a test, Voegele said.

This isn’t the first time Adidas has used data to improve the customer experience. Voegele explained that the company went all-in for omnichannel to make sure that customers who order online can pick up their items in the store. Adidas wanted to drive the inventory to meet demands and know where every part of every product was around the world—and it used SAP products to fulfill these customer expectations, he said.

Predicting Demand to Reduce Bakery Waste

When Costco Wholesale decided to take on an initiative to reduce the amount of unsold goods, it singled out its bakery department and launched an artificial intelligence project to predict what was needed, when, and where. Jeff Lyons, Costco’s Senior Vice President, Head of Fresh Foods, first had this business problem in his mind. One day, he saw a commercial for IBM Watson then picked up the phone and asked his IT manager if Costco could get it. Instead, he was steered toward SAP Leonardo products so that he could launch this initiative while the IT team was going through its own modernization.

Piloting the program in its San Jose bakery, Costco fed seven years of data into the system, along with external data on other factors like weather (which affects the company’s foot traffic and sales). “In the bakery, we wanted to make sure we weren’t spending hours making things that wouldn’t sell,” Lyons said. While the excess product was donated to homeless shelters, spending time making these products was a waste. The result of the project was reduced labor hours and far less excess product. Costco plans to roll out the technology to its 500 U.S. bakeries, as well as its service deli and food court.

Photo Credit: SAP

A Relaxed Chat With Jon Bon Jovi

The pace of the third day of SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference always starts to slow and get more relaxed. It certainly did when SAP CEO Bill McDermott sat down for a fireside chat with Jon Bon Jovi, singer and founder of the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation. In a discussion about Bon Jovi’s life journey, including his childhood, he recalled as an adult looking out from his hotel room in Philadelphia and seeing a homeless man sleeping under the statue of William Penn. It inspired him to start the foundation.

The show floor began looking a little sparse as the afternoon rolled around. Attendees either were heading home or preparing to see Justin Timberlake at the Amway Center, this year’s entertainment.

All-in-all, the more than 21,000 attendees at the 2018 SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference had plenty to learn, interact with, listen to, and discuss while in Orlando this year.

Quote of the Day

“In the beef industry, AI means something different.” – Jeff Lyons, Senior Vice President, Head of Fresh Foods, Costco Wholesale

Find out what happened on day one and on day two in our 2018 SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference coverage. Or read a recap of Dr. Hasso's keynote.

Interested in how SAP can help you enhance your customer experience? Keep the conversation going at the Customer Experience Innovation Forum, our newest event for retailers, consumer products companies, and wholesalers.