- An in-store robot began roaming the aisles of three St. Louis, MO, Schnucks Markets as of July 31, helping the grocery stores collect shelf data for further analysis, Progressive Grocer reports.
- Tally, a robot by Simbe Robotics, will scan the stores in the morning, midday and evening, looking for out-of-stock items, those in low stock, and pricing errors. Simbe Robotics will then analyze and return the data on-the-spot, helping store managers gain actionable insights.
- Tally functions without infrastructure changes to stores, and relies on cloud-powered software and API. Core grocery functions are thus streamlined while also reducing operational costs.
In-store operations are rarely a point of focus beyond store managers, but recent research and solutions like Tally show the processes are ripe for improvement, and can easily translate into bottom-line savings.
After all, the amount of inventory successful sold at a store ripples up the supply chain, affecting future orders, and therefore, production. Except, one question may undermine forecasts: What if a product was not sold due to an out-of-stock problem or misplacement, rather than consumer preference?
As retailers struggle to maintain their footing in the age of e-commerce, inventory management has become an important part of managing profit. Simply, too much stock kept in storage eats into profits, while too little leaves customers frustrated and liable to take their business elsewhere. Retailers selling on multiple channels, meanwhile, must also be able to coordinate in-store data with their e-commerce warehouse.
Inventory management systems exist to help coordinate all of this, but sometimes the problem is not the software. Rather, the problem may be an inability to collect the needed data in the first place. Doing so automatically, be it through robots like Tally scanning the stores or other sensor-based shelf-management systems, allows for employees to focus on analyzing the data to improve efficiency. Perhaps before long, robots will be a frequent sight at retail stores.