Macy's is using Google Cloud data management and analytics offerings to help power its new, in-house developed warehouse management software, Google Cloud announced Wednesday. The software launch coincides with Macy's plans to open a 675,000 square-foot distribution facility in Columbus, Ohio, this fall.
The retailer plans to initially use the warehouse management system to service more than 200 of its off-price Backstage stores, according to the announcement. It later plans to embed it in additional distribution centers for Macy's and Bloomingdale's, as well as into the retailers' online direct-to-consumer orders.
Macy's will rely on Google Cloud's scalability for supply chain optimization to ensure merchandise efficiently ships from the center to stores, meeting demand driven during back to school or the holidays.
Macy's work with Google Cloud dates back to about 2015, Pravin Pillai, Google's global head of retail industry solutions, told sister publication CIO Dive. But the arrival of Naveen Krishna, Macy's chief technology officer, last June has accelerated the retailer's cloud adoption.
Macy's put Krishna in charge of the company's end-to-end technology strategy, including store, e-commerce and internal technologies. He previously served as the vice president of technology at The Home Depot, a fellow Google Cloud customer.
Macy's is working to move more workloads into the cloud, centralizing some of their data platforms, Pillai said.
Cloud migrations require a cultural transformation. Adoption begins with experimentation, often starting small with website optimization before migrating backend systems. Supply chains are particularly ripe for cloud adoption, given the intricate pieces tying disparate parts of the business together.
Retailers are coming to the realization that to transform the business, they have to look holistically across the organization, according to Pillai. That requires making technology a core part of the business strategy, from supply chain to digital commerce to customer acquisition.
Once the data is in play, retailers can apply analytics and machine learning to add in predictive elements, he said.
Macy's has a lot to optimize. This week, it lowered its profit outlook after Q2 sales fell to $5.55 billion from $5.57 billion in Q2 of last year.
To help with efficiency retailers are turning to technology optimization and leading cloud providers are eager to serve. Fearing competition from Amazon, retailers are gravitating to Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud.
Google has championed its retail prowess, appealing to business with industry-specific solutions and highlighting its "robust" partner ecosystem, supporting customers including Kohl's, Lush and The Home Depot.