Oliver Guy

Senior Director - Industry Solutions, Software AG

Specializing in industry strategy, digital transformation and omni-channel technology strategy, Oliver advises companies across the globe on their technology strategy and decisions.

Oliver is an industry strategy specialist with 20 years’ experience driving value for leading technology vendors and their customers across supply chain, operations, channels and digital transformation across all types of retail.
He is an innovative thought leader with a track record of collaboratively defining strategic go-to-market approaches and aligning solution capabilities to market needs to ensure solution relevance.

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Oliver Guy is Senior Director of Industry Solutions at Software AG. An advisor to companies and leaders seeking to innovate and compete more effectively, Oliver has significant experience in Digital Transformation and technology strategy. With over 25 years in technology Oliver has worked with the biggest names in retail and consumer goods across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. Deep experience in supply chain, omni-channel strategy and optimization enables Oliver to provide broad and creative insight on how data can drive incremental value through both optimization and transformation of the enterprise. Prior to joining Software AG, Oliver was part of the European Management team at Oracle Retail – his team being responsible for Retail focused Solution Consulting across Europe. Before that, Oliver worked for Infor in a Solution Consulting role. Oliver started his career in the technology industry implementing Supply Chain Optimization solutions for customers in retail, consumer goods, telecommunications and chemical industries in Europe and Asia Pacific for Manugistics (Blue Yonder).
  • Posted on: 01/19/2022

    NRF 2022: PepsiCo CEO sees bond-building moments amid pandemic

    This is incredibly powerful. The comment "The world doesn't need brands to tell us how to think or feel" might be seen by some as a "swipe" at organisations presenting what could be seen as woke views. For me this is refreshing as brands should not tell us how to think or feel -- but that does not mean they should be out of touch with the way people do feel. For me this certainly warms me to the brand -- despite me not being part of the target audience. Brands need to look at what worries people -- sustainability and the environment is likely to be a big thing in the next few years.
  • Posted on: 01/19/2022

    Are retailers getting closer to nailing last-mile delivery?

    Key to scaling this has to be use of ecosystem partners who specialise in last mile delivery and can attain economies of scale in doing so because they work across multiple retailers. This assumes of course that the provider can provide a service that is in line with the retailer's overall brand and brand promise. In turn this relies on easy, rapid and secure sharing of data between these organisations in order to allow orders to be shared with the providers.
  • Posted on: 01/17/2022

    Can the metaverse solve retail’s returns challenges?

    I have told this story many times - it dates back to 1994 when I attended a lecture by Dr George Stelios who was Professor of Clothing Technology at the University of Bradford. He talked about each of us being scanned and being able to see exactly what clothes looked like on a screen (words like avatar & mixed reality were not part of the lexicon then). Once we were happy the clothes would be ordered and manufactured to fit you perfectly. This was in the days before much of clothing manufacturing moved East - however many of the principles could have a huge impact on returns while also improving rates of returns.
  • Posted on: 01/12/2022

    Reality hits omnichannel retail with a hard truth

    Customers want speed and convenience, but some also like the idea of dealing with the same person or place. It needs to be about giving the choice. There are huge benefits of consolidating and outsourcing returns processes as the outsource company specialises and can attain economies of scale by working across multiple retailers -- plus they are likely to have a convenient set of locations to aid the customer. Future retail is all about ecosystems and collaboration -- as long as that is in keeping with the brand promise that should work for the customer.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2022

    Will 15-minute cities truly bring back local retail?

    I absolutely love this concept. I despair at the new communities being planned and built in the UK, authorized by local government, that require a car to access any local services - shops, basic healthcare, transportation hubs - yet at the same time central government is doing all it can to discourage car use including limiting parking facilities. Fifteen-minute cities have the potential of creating innovative new micro-retail concepts - but also the opportunity to blend delivery services with customers picking up, which becomes interesting. Convenient local pick-up points for online purchases could reduce overall environmental impact and reduce cost due to economies of scale in delivering once for a whole community.
  • Posted on: 01/07/2022

    Supply chain woes just cost Bed Bath & Beyond $100M in sales

    Without a doubt, mastering inventory and supply chain visibility is critical to retail success in 2022 and beyond. Events of the past two years have highlighted just how exposed many supply chains are - in many respects inventory has been like a high water-level covering supply chain and operational issues. The need to meet customer demands across multiple channels means that inventory needs to be near the point of acquisition rather than the point of purchase and these two are becoming more diverged. This simply adds to the complexity and difficulty. Retailers must reduce inventory in order to free working capital that can be used to invest in the business. Visibility across the supply chain is key to this - it seems Bed Bath & Beyond understand this.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2022

    Walmart says it’s ready to deliver groceries inside 30 million American homes

    This is a neat idea - but not a new one. Waitrose in the UK commenced trialing their "while you are away" service a number of years ago. It has been suspended since the start of the pandemic. If done well it does create potential increased loyalty and may potentially remove one of the last areas of friction in grocery shopping - putting it in the cupboards! But this is tricky as delivery operatives are unlikely to know which cupboard! In an environment where people are out at work all day and items are left for the customer to put away when they return it has serious potential - the benefit that Walmart can smooth demand over the day rather than having an evening for peak deliveries. Where customers give access to garages or other out-buildings it could even be done at night when customers are asleep - in much the same way as milk has been traditionally delivered. (As an aside, I recently saw a meme highlighting how for over a generation milk was delivered to UK households in re-usable glass bottles, using an electric vehicle on a subscription payment basis. Ironic given current trends.)
  • Posted on: 01/04/2022

    How to escape your comfort zone

    This is a great piece -- thank you for including. A great reminder and prompt for all of us as we enter 2022. One of my good friends and former colleagues has a lock-screen image on his iPhone that reads "Life begins when you leave your comfort zone." A great reminder every day.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2022

    Would grocers benefit from ghost kitchens?

    This has so many possible options and permutations. Large kitchens that serve multiple stores as well as enabling home delivery option is one extreme. Another might be many small kitchens closer to population centres focused primarily on that home-delivery market. Both options offer the opportunity to not encroach on retailing space. I really like the idea as a way of competing with fast food options -- perhaps providing differentiated offerings that align with the brand of the grocer. Anecdotally there are signs that some people wish to eat out less due to events of the last 2 years -- so this offers a potentially huge opportunity. Conversely the set-up cost could be significant. Equally there are some places where grocers may wish to reduce retail space -- in these circumstances locating kitchens within stores may make more financial sense.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2022

    Kroger eliminates paid COVID-19 leave for unvaccinated

    A fascinating one and getting into a potentially major political arena of discussion. Anyone with an opinion on this should consider some of the regulations appearing in Europe. In Austria, a country usually seen as liberal in outlook, the government have chosen to mandate vaccines in such a way as to restrict overall freedoms of the unvaccinated. In other countries weekly fines are being imposed unless you are vaccinated. One might argue there should be a 'carrot & stick' approach to this -- which is why I have thought very highly of some of the lottery schemes run in some US states. As for Kroger, their shareholders expect the management to do everything they can to mitigate risk and loss. Paid sick leave is a benefit for employees, but a cost to the business. Some might feel that promoting vaccination in this way is a good thing for the business as well as for society as a whole.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2022

    Is showrooming still a concern?

    A major problem with showrooming is measuring it. Looking at revenue in combination with footfall is one way, but this is far from perfect for many reasons. For so many purchases the ability to look, feel and try is something that can only be done physically. With so many choices available -- particularly in apparel -- the chances of the store having the exact item you want (style/colour/size) is very small -- and this may drive showrooming. I still love the Bonobos model and struggle to understand why we are not seeing more similar offerings that encourage you to choose in-store but have delivered to your home.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2022

    Hy-Vee creates its own armed security squad to deter crime

    Wow. Living in a country where guns are a rare sight and police officers do not routinely carry guns this is always going to be a tricky one for me. I do know that I feel safe and secure at UK airports and major train stations seeing heavily armed police officers, but then the police badge is also part of that -- knowing that the officer has been through specific training and vetting before being allowed to carry a weapon in this way. I am genuinely not sure how this would make me feel -- but then were I aware of a series of incidents, then I would likely have a strong view in favour.
  • Posted on: 12/21/2021

    Is showrooming still a concern?

    The future of the store is as a multipurpose hub supporting omnichannel retail, and showrooming is very much part of this. Retailers need to embrace this in order to be successful going forward. This requires significant changes of store metrics as well as operational factors - these things cannot be underestimated.
  • Posted on: 12/21/2021

    Is the Great Resignation really about quitting the rat race?

    Many people have re-evaluated their lives over the past 20 months. Changed perspectives over things like priorities, commuting and work content have had a dramatic impact. For many people one big benefit of working was the community aspect of spending time with other people - for many during the pandemic that benefit vanished. Add these factors to the natural movement you would get at any time and you can understand why the term is the "Great Resignation." In-store staff may also reevaluate their perspectives because they may not feel safe working so close to members of the public and this may have a significant impact on their decision making.
  • Posted on: 12/13/2021

    Will guilting consumers help reduce online’s high return rates?

    These statistics should not surprise any of us - removing both purchase and return friction is going to drive up returns. Highlighting the environmental impact may help but the reality is, when you cannot see or try on merchandise, returns are going to be high. I have previously suggested that retailers could collaborate on a returns coefficient that scores customers based on their likelihood to return an item based on prior purchase history - offering discounts to customers with a low return likelihood score. A more pragmatic approach might be something Amazon has, I believe, tried where discounts are applied based on number of items purchased and removed or reduced for each item returned. Sometimes the wallet is a much stronger incentive than guilt.

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