Generative AI is the hot topic on earnings calls and investor presentations and it's clear we're in a boom for technology. AI is becoming so pervasive that the topic is appearing in industries you wouldn't consider high tech.

Are these real use cases or generative AI washing? It's too early to tell. What is clear is that enterprises are actively checking out AI and implementing it to boost returns. Here's a tour of what a few companies are saying about AI.

Kroger: AI fuels digital engagement among customers

Kroger said that AI will play a role in digital engagement, personalization and summarizing customer data sets including surveys and customer service logs.

Rodney McMullen, CEO of Kroger, said on the company’s first quarter earnings conference call:

“By applying our data and AI-based personalization, we can better understand what truly matters to our customers and deliver more targeted and effective experiences.

As customers' digital engagement increases, we have new and more efficient channels to present the most relevant products and the right promotions at the right times, no matter where and how customers choose to shop with us.”

McMullen said Kroger will work to evaluate new use cases throughout its business. The supermarket chain plans to use search algorithms and generative AI to improve personalized recommendations and substitution accuracy.

He said:

"We are already piloting several large language models to summarize customer database sets. By applying AI to customer surveys and customer service logs, our team can analyze and categorize them in minutes versus days before. This allows the business to react to customer feedback more quickly and accurately, and then reflect these learnings in the customer experience."

McMullen said that Kroger is also looking to simplify work for associates by using AI to optimize store orders, reduce out of stocks and improve inventory management.

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Lennar: Homebuilding, marketing meets AI

Stuart Miller, Executive Chairman of Lennar, said the company has deployed an AI-driven digital marketing and dynamic pricing model to drive order volume and manage deliveries. Miller made the comments on Lennar’s fiscal second quarter earnings call.

The system, which Miller called the Lennar Machine, helped the company with backfill cancellations in its most recent quarter and boost deliveries. Lennar Machine also provides the homebuilder's production group with predictability.

Miller said if you look at Lennar Machine, "I think you'll get a better sense of our strategy, and you just might start to imagine where the often talked about AI might find its way into the sometimes-stodgy home building industry and improve productivity." Miller added that Lennar is looking to use AI to enable the company to focus on selling homes in inventory. Lennar is aiming to sell finished homes before they are complete. Miller said:

"Clearing the homes that are complete and closable rather than selling homes that are many quarters in the future is exactly what drives cash flow and we're focused on this part of our business every day."

Miller said Lennar Machine is part of a data-driven approach to homebuilding and the company has made progress. On the other hand, Miller noted that Lennar doesn't "want to get out over our skis."

Nevertheless, Lennar said that the home building process is data driven and can leverage generative AI.

"(Homebuilding is) a very integrated set of systems that is dependent on feedback loops. And any time that you find a process that becomes data-driven and the data improves to the point that it's actually relevant, at some point, there are large learning models that can be helpful in enhancing productivity."

Campbell Soup Co.: A spicy AI tale

Campbell Soup scored a product win when it launched Chunky Ghost Pepper Chicken Noodle and generated social media buzz.

That soup was reportedly AI driven. According to NJBiz, Chunky Ghost Pepper Chicken Noodle was created with the help of Campbell Soup's Insight Engine. The Insight Engine analyzes more than 300 billion data points annually to find trends in social media, restaurants and menus.

With Insight Engine, Campbell Soup has been able to speed up its product development cycle and feed the product pipeline with innovation. The Insight Engine initiative started years ago but is now paying dividends.