Etailer is launching new supply chain technology as it seeks to maintain its availability and customer service while expanding abroad.

The system, from Relex, is designed to boost Ao’s analytical capabilities and manage inventory.

The appliances specialist offers same day and next day deliveries and availability is therefore crucial. Vicky Kay, head of commercial operations and supply chain at Ao, said: “Cost savings are important to us and it’s about being smart, but it’s availability that is the key measure.”

The etailer is known for building most of its core systems in-house, but Kay said that they turned to Relex because they required a specialist solution.

“The supply chain is such an integral part of the business, that it was important that we get this part right. Certainly we could build something in-house, but it would take a very long time to do, a lot of resources and there would be a lot of cost involved in doing so.

“There was a worry in the business that if worked with an external supplier on a central business function that we would lose control, however, Relex has worked closely with us and understood Ao’s strategic objectives and vision.”

The new system will allow the retailer to address the challenges it faces with demand forecasting, replenishment, promotions and product life cycle management decisions. It is also scalable as Ao expands into new territories and extends the product range into new categories.

Kay said that the technology will initially be used in the UK as a test case, because it is the most established market. From there, it will be rolled out into Germany and any new territories.