The retail industry is rife with inefficiencies: product mismanagement, stock-outs, and outdated inventory solutions result in billions of dollars of annual waste. OSA DC aims to neutralize these inefficiencies and usher in a new era of supply chain management and retail industry operations.
The project’s acronym stands for Optimal Shelf Availability Decentralized. As its name suggests, the platform focuses on improving optimal shelf availability for retail stores, or in other words, a retailer’s ability to keep an adequate, consistent supply of stocked shelves for each of the products it carries. Under current business models, retailers lack the resources or data to optimize their shelf availability, a problem that affects not only the stores themselves but also their producers and customers.
Without optimal inventory stocking, retailers and manufacturers can’t move goods as efficiently and thus lose profit. With understocking and overstocking plaguing revenue potential, consumers also lose out as they can’t purchase the items they want and so have to pay marked-up prices on other products, as retailers try to make up for lost dollars.
Leveraging artificial intelligence and Blockchain technology, OSA DC gives retailers the ability to increase their bottom lines by better managing their inventory. Within the data marketplace’s ecosystem, they’ll be able to work more closely with manufacturers to galvanize business strategies, which, in turn, provides consumers with a more positive shopping experience
Consumers are OSA DC’s primary focus and its largest beneficiary. The blockchain will provide consumers with verifiable, transparent product information so that they can make safe and healthy purchases. While OSA’s AI and data analytics will improve product availability to provide them with a more satisfactory shopping experience.
Problems that Plague the Retail Industry
Understocking and overstocking cost the global retail industry $500 bln annually. General inefficiencies and waste account for $100 bln of this, but the vast majority, some $400 bln, results from product shortages and understocking, as retailers lose potential revenue from stock-outs and product unavailability.
Stock-outs, as you may have guessed, occur when a store’s supply of a certain item goes dry. This can lead to retailers losing business, as consumers look elsewhere for a more reliable shopping experience and the goods they need. Conversely, overstocking may cause both retailers and manufacturers to lose money, as they can’t move products quickly enough before they spoil or go out of fashion.
Without accurate data, these issues won’t go away. Retailers and their producers don’t have the means or resources to optimize their business models, not because the technology doesn’t exist, but because the current infrastructure doesn’t offer adequate information or analytics to give businesses the tools to pinpoint and fix their processes’ weak points.
Often, the enterprise solutions these organizations use are either outdated or underutilized, mainly because, as already mentioned, businesses don’t have a hub of reliable, clean data to maximize their potential. The technological innovations (AI, inventory sensors, Blockchain) are all there; they just haven’t been exploited to their full potential in order to revolutionize retail services.
OSA DC’s Answers to These Problems
OSA will leverage cutting-edge technology (biosensors, shelf monitoring, machine learning, etc.) with its AI-powered services. In addition, the Blockchain will provide foolproof product tracking, while a series of smart contracts and KPIs will allow every member of the supply chain process to keep tabs on quality control and cross-check product information.
Part I: AI
Together, the platform’s artificial intelligence and machine learning process, analyze, and deliver sound data that both retailers and manufacturers can use to revamp their services. Acting as a comprehensive data hub, OSA gives retailers the power to more accurately gauge inventory needs, while the platform’s machine learning algorithms help them to forecast purchasing trends for future product orders. OSA will also allow store employees to track product movements in real-time. Shelf sensors will monitor product availability, and OSA DC’s AI will assist employees with how to manage stock outs should they arise.
OSA’s ecosystem accommodates more than sellers, producers, and consumers. Data providers, data scientists, and researchers will be responsible for enriching the data marketplace’s AI and wealth of resources. These contributors will also be responsible for helping train OSA’s machine learning modules, which retailers and manufacturers will use to build KPIs and business models to improve their services.
To improve its AI models, OSA DC has also partnered with Neuromation, a synthetic data platform that is building a more efficient infrastructure to train AI models. Using image recognition and computer vision technology, Neuromation trains machine learning modules, labels data sets, and generates product data to help businesses better manage their AI backends. Its native currency, Neurotoken (NTK) will be used as a payment option on the network to compensate data providers, computation providers, and those who provide AI models and other data sets to the platform. OSA DC has partnered with Neuromation to utilize its image recognition software, a cutting-edge technology that will enable OSA to properly train its AI to respond to on-shelf stockouts in real-time.
Part II: Blockchain
With AI behind its vital processes, Blockchain technology will serve as OSA DC’s lifeblood. It will store all relevant product information and labels in OSA DC’s Data Master Catalog, allowing all its users to access fully verified information on an item and its attributes. The Blockchain will also radically improve supply chain shipping and handling. Coupled with biosensors and other technology to trace quality control, it’ll be easier than ever before for retailers and producers to keep an eye on exact inventory, shipments, and even crucial handling conditions e.g. environmental controls for temperature-sensitive goods.
Bringing it All Together
AI and machine learning give businesses the ability to accurately forecast purchasing trends and respond to stock-outs, while the Blockchain will provide an immutable framework to track product movements, conditions, and inventory.
While these solutions are aimed at retailers and their producers, consumers will reap a plethora of benefits from OSA DC’s services. With more efficient product stocking models, customers will have access to the products they want when they want them. In addition, OSA DC’s mobile and web applications will allow them to verify product information on the Blockchain, submit data to the network, and search for the best deals across OSA’s participating stores. For their contributions and data marketplace activity, they’ll be rewarded in OSA coin, which they can use for certain in-store purchases, promotional campaigns, and other incentives on the platform.
OSA DC: Ushering in the Future of Retail
The project opened registration for its token sale’s whitelist on March 20, which will close on May 15. From May 27 to June 16, OSA will hold a public presale, which will feature an early bird bonus. The main sale will start June 17 and run through July or until a hard cap of $40 mln is reached. All tokens will be distributed to contributors 30 days after the sale ends. The ICO price for one OSA token (OSA) is 0.0002 ETH.
The OSA Hybrid Solution is the predecessor to OSA DC, a supply chain solutions platform that has produced real, AI-driven results to over 70 retailers and manufacturers in 40 countries. The protocol has helped the likes of Danone, Mars, L’Oreal, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, JTI, Metro, and other leading consumer goods corporations to increase their profit margins by 5.4%.
These results are the culmination of the team’s holistic and extensive experience in the supply chain and retail industries. Maximilian Musselius, OSA DC’s Strategy and Vision Lead, is the Executive Director of Efficient Consumer Response (ECR) Russia, an organization that has been working towards improving the very same inefficiencies that OSA DC is trying to solve in the consumer goods sector. Co-founder Alex Isaiev also has over 17 years of experience in the fast-moving consumer goods industry and has held roles that range from sales to management in over 57 countries for leading corporations such as Japan Tobacco International
OSA DC also sports a group of accomplished advisors. One of the most influential, Don Swann, used to be the VP of Operations and COO of Walmart’s North American, Russian, and Brazilian branches. Gary Fowler, the project’s business development lead, has held executive positions at such big names as Siemens and HP.
With the guidance of its advisors, the OSA DC team is striving to build on the success of their Hybrid Platform with state of the art AI and Blockchain technology. If you’d like to learn more about the project and its token sale, you can visit OSA’s website here.