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Midwestern grocer automates shelf scans with robots

Woodman’s Markets now monitors products and prices using autonomous robots.

Based in Janesville, Wisconsin, employee-owned Woodman’s operates 18 grocery stores across Wisconsin and Illinois. Most of Woodman’s stores are over 240,000 sq. ft., nearly six times larger than the grocery industry average, stocking more than 100,000 items at each location. 

To reduce the time spent performing shelf scans to hours from days, Woodman’s is deploying multipurpose robots equipped with the Badger Technologies Retail Insight solution. These robots will monitor product availability, verify prices, and deliver precise location data.

Imaging tools and neural networks within the robots enable Woodman’s to detect out-of-stock items with more than 95% accuracy and incorrect and mispriced products with over 90% accuracy. Leveraging the robots, Woodman’s can discern current product locations within a four-foot section of aisles that typically extend more than 100 feet. 

In addition, Woodman’s can also take advantage of critical trending data to better forecast and manage commodities and vendors with frequent stock issues. Badger Retail InSight also keeps track of item locations, enabling the grocer to integrate daily updates into its mobile shopping app to help customers, online order pickers and store associates quickly find all products. 

This automated process also aids collaborations among Woodman’s pricing departments, improving the prioritization of replenishment lists and assessing planogram compliance. 

“Woodman’s is committed to having the widest variety of groceries at the best prices, unlike other superstores that sell everything from bikes to bananas,” said Clint Woodman, president of Woodman’s Markets. “Badger’s robots are helping us fulfill this mission with real-time inventory visibility that yields analytics and actionable data insights to inform our business decisions.”
Woodman’s is currently deploying Badger Technologies robots and expects to have the technology implemented across all 18 stores by the end of 2020.

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