Case studies

Revolutionizing Inventory Management in Fair Trade Retail


In the evolving landscape of fair trade, small retail shops face unique challenges in managing their inventory efficiently. Pi School recognises the importance of sustainable and equitable trade relationships, especially as the demand for fair trade products grows globally. In 2021, Italians spent over €553 million on fair trade products, and more than 37,000 products were licensed by Fair Trade International.

The Challenge:

Small shop size and inventory management capabilities present significant hurdles for these retailers. Traditional product presentation and stock management methods are increasingly inadequate in today’s fast-paced market. Pi School asked the crucial question: How can we help these small fair trade retailers?
Our Innovative Solution:
At Pi School, we developed a unified marketplace solution bridging the demand and supply gap. Our optimisation algorithm plays a critical role in this ecosystem. It monitors stock levels as a ‘sentinel’ to prevent overstocking or stock shortages. This approach not only optimises stock refurbishment but also creates a win-win situation for both retailers and suppliers.

Impressive Results:

Our solution has led to significant improvements in inventory management. By employing state-of-the-art time series analysis and demand forecasting techniques, we’ve seen a notable decrease in mean average error (MAE) related to stock levels. Additionally, our replenishment optimisation uses a linear program that is transparent, interpretable, scalable, reliable, and fast. This ad-hoc mathematical model maximises the Gross Margin Return on Inventory Investment (GMROII%), ensuring optimal stock value and profitability.

The Team Behind the Success:

This project was brought to life by a talented team comprising Lorenzo Tarricone and Francesco Vitale, coached by Marcello Politi and mentored by Lucas Victorasso.


Pi School continues to be at the forefront of applying AI and machine learning to real-world problems. Our work in optimising inventory for small fair trade retail shops is just one example of how we’re driving innovation and supporting sustainable trade practices. Stay tuned for more groundbreaking projects from our dynamic team!

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