Following a pilot and limited deployment, Schnuck Markets is bringing Simbe Robotics’ Tally shelf-scanning robot to 46 more supermarkets, covering more than half of its store base with the autonomous inventory management technology.
Schnucks said Wednesday that 62 stores in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana will have Tally robots once the rollout is completed. Overall, the St. Louis-based regional grocer operates 112 stores, including in Wisconsin.
Roaming the aisles at Schnucks stores, the Tally robots travel the entire floor two to three times daily and scan about 35,000 products each time. With the broader store deployment, Tally will scan an average of more than 4.2 million products daily, providing Schnucks with accurate, frequent and comprehensive insights into product flow and operations, the companies said.
Tally also improves how products are organized and stocked on shelves to make sure items are placed where customers expect them to be, according to Simbe and Schnucks. The captured data and resulting analytic reports also yield insights on shelf and inventory optimization to the retailer’s brand and delivery partners.
Dave Steck, vice president of IT infrastructure and development at Schnucks, reported that Tally has provided 14 times more out-of-stock detection than manual auditing and at least a 20% reduction in out-of-stocks in stores using the robot.
The technology also has sharpened the accuracy of real-time inventory that feeds into Schnucks’ automated replenishment system, enabling more efficient inventory management, as well as streamlined ordering and replenishment for faster restocking of shelves, he added. This has also translated into access to real-time product location data via the Schnucks Rewards app, offering more efficient shopping trips for customers and stocking for store associates — a key capability amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The amount of critical data and valuable insights that Tally continues to bring us from a select number of stores is immeasurable,” Steck said in a statement. “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.”
Schnucks first piloted Tally at several stores in July 2017 and deployed the robots to 15 stores in the fall of 2018. According to South San Francisco-based Simbe, Tally uses a suite of sensors to safely navigate around aisles and shoppers and, because the robot is fully autonomous, it returns to its charging dock on its own.
“Schnucks has done a tremendous job adopting thoughtful innovation to consistently enrich the shopping experience, share cutting-edge resources with store teams, and ultimately, improve business operations,” commented Brad Bogolea, founder and CEO of Simbe Robotics. “Simbe is proud to expand our partnership, now and into the future, and continue to work together across a variety of store sizes and layouts to create a better retail experience through data-driven solutions like Tally. As retailers are recognizing the need for innovation in a unique market landscape, Simbe equips them with the insights they need to remain competitive and keep customers happy.”
Also using Simbe’s Tally robot is Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle. The regional grocer began piloting the technology at Giant Eagle and Market District supermarkets in the Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, areas in April 2019. Other retailers using Simbe robotics include sporting goods chain Decathlon and food retailers Carrefour and Groupe Casino.