Robert Nunes is IT Manager at Grupo Boticário and Estela Cunha is Sr. IT Group Innovation Advisor. They manager and consulter of Botilabs, a new area of Grupo Boticário, linked to Technology, focusing on innovation and digital transformation through technology. Together they presented this week the Group’s new project: the Intelligent Shelves. Here they better explain this idea.

 

1 – How did the idea of Smart Shelves come about?

Smart Shelf came from the distribution of the planogram – a plan of how the products will be presented in the Group stores, considering the necessary changes every 18 days, when new product cycles transform the stores, or they are only rearranged in the presentation their. Note that there are more than 4,000 points of sale of the group’s brands.

The idea is to ensure that the company-defined planogram for the stores reaches the same as these selling points and to ensure that the product is being presented as the one submitted by the planogram, on display and not in the stock.

In addition with the Smart Shelfs it is possible to segment the planogram by regions of the country and that it be controlled by the Boticário Group and by the stores. As franchisors we would be able to control for the franchisee and we would even be able to take inputs for him to improve his planogram. The best thing is that with this technology we could get the operative work of the saleswoman, of taking care of the inventory on the shelf. With this technology we can bring agility, speed and operational efficiency, since today our curators are more and more beauty specialists and less and less should do the operational work.

 

2 – What technology (s) are used for this solution?

Behind the Smart Shelf we have several technologies involved: Machine Learn, Machine Vision, Cognition Vision… With the Machine Learn I can make my machine to understand what is the product , how is its form, it should be and how it should be on the shelf, at what time, whether new products come in or come out. The machine learns this.

The part of cameras is where I have Cognition Vision, a technology that ensures that a product is recognized through photos, and differentiated in the gondola.

Another technology is the Block Chain, which is the transfer of monetary values safely. This technology, however, is not yet in place but it will allow, for example, the company to subsidize a franchisee in a secure transaction.


3 – When should these technologies be implemented? What will this process be like?

A pilot was presented to the press. It’s 8 weeks of development of the new technology. Now we have a whole business case work because we have technologies for example, that use high cost cameras. When we take this to the franchisees, we know that we will have to reduce costs, the account has to close and the solution has to be paid. Our focus is not technology by technology. It needs to bring added value to the franchisee and the end consumer.

The company is currently taking photos and teaching the machine (Machine Learn) all our SKUs. Then we’ll check how much it will cost this, considering what it already has. We want to put this into a pilot project, see how much it will have of value to the company, how much we are going to be able to monetize with it all, so we can scale it up and put it on the network as a whole.

 

4 – Who worked on this project?

This project was done with approximately 30 people: 10 people from Grupo Boticário among people from areas like: IT, New Businesses, Developers and Boti Labs. We had 10 people from SAP Labs, an enterprise software company and 10 people from the University. So it was a co-creation job. Now we have to do the business case, make that account to close, because we know that there are stores in the interior of the country, whose flow is much smaller and will not need this technology. So we need to define which markets will have this technology. Our intelligence team is working with us at Boti Labs so we can close this business case and implement it.

 

Estela Cunha

5 – How and why did this idea come about?

It all started with an invitation that SAP Labs made to Boticario Group to bring a challenge to a forum called Inoweeks, which is similar to a competition. Companies bring challenges and a business team is set up to solve it.

SAP Labs, which is headquartered in São Leopoldo RS, is already a partner of Grupo Boticário. We have already run on their technology in other areas of the company. We entered into this business challenge because they told us that there was a possibility to participate in it by bringing people to work and telling us what the company wants to solve with disruptive technologies. Or, more precisely, what is the pain?
We said then that we would like to have our stocks at the tip – real stock, not just the virtual stock, without changing the store process. Super difficult, because we and the whole retail have all been working to give this visibility. So we put together the team of developers from SAP’s lab, our executives, both retail, industry and field, demand, logistics … We have already been able to move a lot inside the company, even from areas that did not talk much. And we also join the university students, who are invited by SAP to develop and oxygenate ideas. One of the mainstays of innovation is that when we are in business, we begin to be more limited in creation or possibilities. The university students are younger and do not have the corporate bias, their ideas come not only in the core of the idea but also in the execution, in the small details, in the creation of the dashboard for example, engaged in the team as well as our developers.

 

6 –  Has anything close to this technology been developed before?

There is nowhere in the world and all retailers want it.

 

7 – Essa tecnologia será exclusiva do Grupo?

Isso ainda está em definição, porque hoje trabalhamos com co-criação. Isso é bom para nós, é bom para eles. Esse modelo de co-criação está sendo desenvolvido da mesma forma que o modelo de negócio, a cada passo.


8 – O que está definido?

Estamos negociando. É tudo uma questão de negociação. Ninguém sai perdendo quando é uma inovação aderente. Só precisamos encontrar um meio termo do que é necessário e útil para nós e o que é necessário e útil para o fornecedor, provedor da tecnologia.


9 – The 4000 stores are a already a considerable retail…

And the cool thing is that it’s like this: We’re a beauty business. We will be a beauty business. And technology is coming to favour and enhance the experience with beauty.


10 – How to show this idea to franchisees?

The new Smart Shelves technology was presented to journalists at a SAP Digital Transformation event in São Paulo. Image Recognition, Machine Learn in which the machine is taught to recognize the products with a certain proportion, such as a cartridge from the Florata line of perfumery for example. Every new cartridge I put there will already make that recognition. So that’s one of the enablers. Image Technology, Cloud Technology, that is, the database being browsed. Today it is being stored in an SAP cloud. It was already a gigantic database. Now it were added data like where the products are, how often they were raised, on what shelf they were, how long they got off the shelf before it was replenished. This generates a huge database.

Today we have this solution. There is not yet this technology in store   The idea is to make possible to send relevant information to the cashier, to the demand, to the industry, in São José dos Pinhais and information relevant to the franchisee – how much of the stock hehas immobilized. How much money does he have in stock?

It is information capture that can go to various stakeholders of the process. To be part of our store ecosystem we must follow some rules. Among them is having the portfolio available to the consumer. So we also provide tools for this franchisee to have a sound financial management.