30 Admired Companies to watch 2018


4R Systems: Creating the Retailer’s Breakthrough in Technologies

As globalization hit the world, the entire market dimension changed. This is particularly true in the case of the retail world. In the digital market space of today, there are so many consumers and sellers alike, who buy and sell beyond local borders. Global retailers are faced with unprecedented challenges that range from shifting retail formats to fast-changing technology and a greater focus on quality and price. And not to forget, the tough economic climate.

With greater access to the foreign market, there are many US companies that have expanded overseas and are selling internationally. There are so many retail chains scattered across different countries, that there comes a need for the right technology that can cope with large amounts of data created at the global level.

Realizing that the retail field is an area rich in data and in need for the right technology, 4R Systems was established in 1999. 4R Systems was founded by supply chain experts Dr. Marshall Fisher of Wharton Business School and Dr. Ananth Raman of Harvard Business School, whose groundbreaking research on product lifecycles with over 30 world-class retailers pioneered retail supply chain analytics. The company was built on an opportunity for analysis using machine learning, predictive analytics and ultimately optimization of the thousands of decisions that are done on a daily basis in the retail world.

The Retail World

With a vision to be the top preferred solutions provider in retail optimization, 4R Systems has come a long way. 4R Systems provides retailers breakthrough technologies that profit optimize inventory decisions throughout an item’s life. This includes initial buy, replenishment and allocation for stores and distribution centers, and end-of-life strategies including markdowns. And nearly two decades later, it continues to deliver tangible value through innovation and advanced analytics.

In the company’s first project with retailers, it proved out the theory that using an investment based approach to risk, opportunity, and profit would yield major improvements. “Our first initiatives showed that we could increase sales and profits while at the same time reducing inventory; something unheard of before,” explains Kevin Stadler, the President and CEO of 4R Systems.

Of course, there were challenges en route to success. The company learned that optimization of vast amounts of retail data required clean data or at a bare minimum the ability to throw out outliers. It’s always a challenge to know what to keep and what to throw out. “Learning what to keep and what to ignore is a major step forward for anyone delving into this sort of optimization,” says Stadler.

To overcome these challenges, 4R’s focus on the client and the client’s profitability has paved the way to victory. The dedicated employees and the ability to work as a team have contributed immensely. 4R Systems’ ability to apply advanced analytics simply and elegantly to problems and to never give up until you have the answers have been the biggest assets so far.

Solutions for Profit

4R provides retailers with services designed to maximize their profitability by the application of sophisticated retail and supply chain analytics. “At 4R Systems, we look at retail inventory management differently. We use advanced analytics based on statistical and machine learning techniques developed from profit optimization algorithms,” explains the President.

4R’s profit optimization solutions take full advantage of advanced analytics that leverage improved predictions and promise to deliver a profit optimal improvement across the client’s supply chain and merchandising decisions. This is backed by the power of the cloud that further allows a low risk and quick implementation.

In addition to the profit optimization solutions, 4R’s Forecasting Solution enables retailers to identify pure demand with the company’s proprietary approach. The demand decomposition and lost sales estimation are totally integrated with all 4R advanced optimization solutions. “Our solution provides sophisticated machine learning and prescriptive analytics that incorporate the effect of promotions, seasonality, and pricing to determine ‘pure’ demand,” addresses Stadler.

The Customers Love it!

“4R’s profit optimized store inventory service has improved our ability to maintain inventory levels that satisfy customer needs better and more profitably.” – Chad Clayton, Vice President Inventory Management at Family Dollar.

“4R Systems helped us quantify the return-on-investment…it was compelling. The system paid for itself many times over the first year out. No question, it beat the financial metrics and ROI targets.”

-Eric Kang, Vice President of Supply Chain, Sur La Table.

The Star Team

Behind these innovative and profit delivering solutions is a team of hardworking and dedicated employees at 4R. By giving the employees autonomy, they bring out the best and deliver quality work. The company also sponsors professional development, and in the past year, a number of employees received certifications in various professional areas. “We work as a team and help our clients and each other be successful,” acknowledges Stadler.

4R’s goal has always been to be the leader in the retail supply chain optimization. And the company believes that it’s achieving it. “We see the shift of consumer demand into online and innovative in-store as the wave of the future and want to play a critical role in helping retailers to optimize this changing environment,” notes Stadler.

From the Innovator’s Desk

Kevin Stadler is the President and CEO of 4R Systems. He is responsible for the continued strategic expansion and overall operations of 4R. Stadler has over 25 years of experience in retail technology, product strategy, sales, and software design. Prior to joining 4R, Stadler was CEO of Intactix International which was acquired by JDA and CEO of Standard Analytics which was acquired by Dunn Humby. Stadler holds a BSBA with a double major in Information Systems and Management from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

 “We continue to deliver value in the form of profit to our clients.”

“Our first initiatives showed that we could increase sales and profits while at the same time reducing inventory; something unheard of before.”