Schnucks expands in-store robot rollout

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Schnucks expands in-store robot rollout

By Dan Berthiaume - 09/30/2020

A Midwestern grocer is bringing inventory-counting robots to more than half its stores.

Three years after piloting the Simbe Robotics “Tally” autonomous shelf-scanning robot at select stores, Schnuck Markets Inc. is launching the technology in an additional 46 stores, leveraging Tally’s real-time data to improve the shopping experiences in 62 locations. This follows an initial expansion of the rollout to at least 15 stores in October 2018.

Tally robots traverse Schnucks store aisles two to three times per day and autonomously capture inventory for approximately 35,000 products per store with each traversal. With this latest expansion, on average, Tally will scan more than 4.2 million products per day, designed to provide Schnucks with accurate, frequent and comprehensive insights into product flow and operations. Schnucks says store associates have noted improved inventory and productivity in stores where robots are deployed and call this result the “Tally Effect.”

Additional benefits Schnucks says it has received from Tally include:

  • 14x more out-of-stock detection than manual auditing and at least 20% reduction in out-of-stock items in stores using Tally;
  • Increased accuracy of real-time inventory that feeds into Schnucks’ automated replenishment system, allowing for more efficient inventory management;
  • Streamlined ordering and replenishment, ensuring store shelves are restocked quicker to meet customer needs; and,
  • Access to real-time product location data through the Schnucks Rewards loyalty app, enabling more efficient shopping trips for customers and stocking for teammates.

“The amount of critical data and valuable insights that Tally continues to bring us from a select number of stores is immeasurable,” said Dave Steck, Schnucks VP of IT infrastructure and development. “By expanding our partnership with Simbe and introducing Tally to more than half our stores, we will improve our in-stock position for our customers and free up our teams from tedious inventory-related tasks, allowing more focus on service. Improving our customer’s experiences has always been deeply important to us and is becoming even more critical to operations in a rapidly changing retail environment.”

Founded in St. Louis in 1939, Schnuck Markets is a third-generation, family-owned grocery retailer operating 112 stores in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.