SAP invests in a lot of promising startups, and it’s sometimes hard to keep track of all of them. E-3 Magazine has selected the most interesting companies to showcase in our SAP Startup Spotlight Series. In this article, we will take a look at Wisy.
Min Chen is the CEO of Wisy, a startup that solves a $1.9T problem in the CPG and retail industry by optimizing operations, reducing out-of-stocks and waste with artificial intelligence. She is an award-winning serial entrepreneur and software engineer with 20 years of experience. In this interview, Min Chen will explain what problem Wisy is trying to solve, what makes her company different, and what’s next for the startup.
E-3 Magazine: What problem is Wisy trying to solve?
Min Chen: Wisy is solving a problem that affects everybody who shops at a store. All of us have had the inconvenience of not finding the product we want to buy, and this problem causes a $1.9T annual loss in the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) industry due to stockouts and waste. While stockouts can happen for several reasons, one of the most common causes is the lack of actionable data at the point-of-sale for CPG and retailer personnel to take timely, correct actions and prevent the problem in the future. Stockouts lead to losses in sales and waste as products are not sold before their expiry date because they are not being restocked on shelves in a timely manner.
Why is this such a difficult problem to solve?
Chen: Imagine a dairy company with over 100 different products sold at thousands of stores or the dairy department in a grocery store with thousands of products to choose from. Keeping track of product rotation, inventory, planogram compliance, assortments, and pricing of every product and every store is a daunting task that is still done manually. Manual retail execution processes rely on the memory and eyeballing capabilities of employees. It is no surprise that error margins are high, data are inaccurate and not actionable. High personnel turnover adds more challenges as new employees take longer to execute the same tasks and could make more mistakes due to their unfamiliarity with the company’s myriad of products.
How is Wisy helping to solve this problem?
Chen: Wisy has developed an artificial-intelligence solution that works in any mobile device to empower field employees to quickly identify retail execution issues and perform corrective actions quickly and consistently. Instead of verifying out-of-stocks manually, employees just have to snap a picture of the shelf and Wisy will identify issues such as out-of-stocks, planogram compliance, unauthorized products, and pricing issues. Employees won’t have to rely on memorizing the hundreds of products and their right quantities for each store to identify issues. Wisy will do that for them in a matter of seconds. It is likely to increase efficiency by at least 25 percent and accuracy to 90 percent, leading to potential combined benefit of 3 to 10 percent of revenue.