Sam’s Club has wrapped up a chainwide installation of aisle-scanning towers onto robotic floor scrubbers under a partnership with artificial intelligence (AI) specialist Brain Corp.
San Diego-based Brain’s Inventory Scan accessory has been fitted to autonomous scrubbers already in use at nearly 600 Sam’s Clubs nationwide, the companies said Thursday. Powered by the BrainOS AI-driven operating system, the cloud-connected tower captures data as the scrubber navigates its way around the club. As functionality is deployed, Sam’s Club receives insights such as product localization, planogram compliance, stock levels and pricing accuracy.
Sam’s Club, the wholesale club subsidiary of Walmart, had kicked off the chainwide rollout of Brain’s Inventory Scan towers this past January. In October 2020, Brain announced that Sam’s would start adding 372 new Tennant T7AMR floor scrubbers to its clubs, which would give the retailer automated scrubbers at all of its locations. Sam’s also expanded a pilot for the scrubbers to use Brain’s accessory for localizing and analyzing shelf inventory, which became Inventory Scan. Brain has been working with Walmart since 2018.
“Our initial goal at Sam’s Club was to convert time historically spent on scrubbers to more member-focused activities. Our autonomous scrubbers have exceeded this goal. In addition to increasing the consistency and frequency of floor cleaning, intelligent scrubbers have empowered associates with critical insights,” according to Todd Garner, vice president of in-club product management at the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer. “These scrubbers help associates ensure products are out for sale, priced correctly and findable, ultimately making it easier to directly engage with our members.”
Brain noted that Inventory Scan’s functions eliminate the need for time-consuming and potentially inaccurate manual processes that can affect product availability and the member experience, as well as potentially create waste from inaccurate ordering. With a dual-function design, the tower uses computer vision and analytics technologies to collect on-shelf inventory and store-mapping data in real time, providing the retailer with “smart” inventory management and operations. The Inventory Scan towers are powered by the BrainOS and manufactured by Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Tennant.
“The speed and efficiency of the deployment of this next generation retail technology with Sam’s Club is a testament to the strength of our team,” stated David Pinn, CEO of Brain Corp. “Through the use of Inventory Scan, Sam’s Clubs across the country are able to access a trove of critical inventory data in real time, which they can use to better inform decision making, run their clubs more efficiently and provide a better in-club experience for their members.”