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Levi Strauss leveraging machine learning to optimize its fulfillment operations

Technology identifies best fulfillment option, opens more inventory to customers

In a quest to optimize fulfillment operations, Levi Strauss & Co. has developed a proprietary technology that leverages machine learning (ML) to better guide its decision-making.

BOOST technology, short for business optimization of shipping and transport, uses ML and artificial intelligence to identify the best fulfillment option, balancing the needs of the customer with what is best for LS&Co.’s bottom line. The result is a more efficient shipping operation and way of moving inventory being made available to consumers.

“What BOOST is optimized to do is fulfill e-commerce orders more effectively,” said Louis DiCesari, the company’s global head of data, analytics and AI. “When somebody goes online to make a purchase, we have distribution centers where we keep inventory specifically for those orders. One of the things we can do with BOOST is broaden that search for available products to include stores and allow the engine to choose the best fulfillment option for both the consumer and our bottom line.”

Levi (NYSE: LEVI) publicly announced the technology Monday. The company has set a goal of generating 55% of revenue from direct-to-consumer channels by 2027, tripling e-commerce sales in that time frame.

BOOST first works to ensure the customer has access to the product they are interested in. For example, previously a shopper may have searched for a Levi’s Trucker jacket in a specific wash only to be told it was not in stock. This was due to the online component searching only distribution centers. BOOST, though, also searches in-store inventories for the item.

“We worked closely on the development of the engine with our direct-to-consumer teams, who make it their mission to turn consumers into lifelong fans, wherever and however they like to shop,” said Louis. “This is just one example of how we’re applying the benefits of digital innovation to accelerate that shared vision.”

Once the correct products are identified and bought by the consumer, BOOST works to ensure the shipping experience is seamless.

“If a consumer orders three things from Levi’s and gets three packages from Levi’s, it’s a poor experience for the customer and a bigger strain on resources,” said Louis. “BOOST’s AI calculations allow us to reduce shipping impact without shifting the burden to the customer.”

BOOST considers all aspects of the shipping process, from packing to shipping and labor, allowing it to make the most cost-effective and consumer-centric shipping decisions.

“The beauty of it is that we’ve been able to automate all of this so it’s really a decision-making engine, not just an information engine, allowing our teams to focus their efforts on other value-adding initiatives,” said Louis.

Levi said 40% of BOOST-eligible e-commerce orders are now being handled by the technology. The company expects 100% of all Black Friday orders this year to be processed using i. A rollout of BOOST across Europe has also started.

Click for more Modern Shipper articles by Brian Straight. 

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and fleetowner.com. Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at bstraight@freightwaves.com.