AI investment pays off for The Foschini Group

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 07 Jun 2023

The Foschini Group (TFG) says it is reaping the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) in its operations.

The retailer says it has implemented AI-powered automation across its organisation to optimise business processes, improve operational efficiencies, and enhance user and customer experience.

TFG partnered with robotics process automation (RPA) firm LarcAI to roll out AI across its business.

In a statement, TFG notes that throughout its journey with automation, the company has seen benefits that demonstrate the success of the RPA project.

This, as businesses increasingly invest in AI technologies to increase competitive advantage.

“While customer data analytics and AI are becoming critical components of retailers’ business strategy, the speed of AI adoption among retailers is raising some concerns,” says Karen Augustine, research manager for financial and retail insights at IDC.

“AI is undoubtedly the way that retailers can thrive in the future, especially for those retailers that are agile enough to optimise AI capabilities enterprise-wide sooner than later.”

“TFG’s experience is testament to the fact that automation is a strategic investment that enables businesses to improve operational efficiency and enhance customer experience,” says Mo Kola, CTO of business solutions at TFG.

“With artificial intelligence software processing information quicker and with increased accuracy, our teams can focus on higher-level tasks that require more critical thinking and creativity.”

The benefits of implementing automation at TFG have been significant, Kola adds. “In total, more than 2 000 workdays were saved per year due to automation.”

In the finance division alone, he notes, 1 644 workdays were saved due to automation, with a 240% return on investment achieved on the automation programme.

According to Jannie Strydom, CEO of LarcAI, with the company’s AIForged platform, together with technologies like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, it is now possible to take unstructured information and extract structured meaning from it.

“We believe this is where the world is headed, with people interacting with machines in a more natural way through human language.”