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Schnucks is Counting on These Robots to Keep Count of Inventory

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New workers soon will be roaming the aisles at more than half of Schnuck Markets Inc.’s 112 Midwest grocery stores. None of them will wear facemasks, but that’s OK. They’re programmed to avoid close contact with shoppers.

Schnucks announced the Tally autonomous robots from Simbe Robotics will, as their name suggests, take real-time inventory and share that information with Schnucks’ automated replenishment system as they cruise stores’ aisles 2 to 3 times a day. Schnucks, which began piloting the robots 3 years ago, expects them to reduce out-of-stock items by at least 20%. With this latest expansion, the Tally team will scan more than 4.2 million products per day.

“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 vice president 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 customers’ experiences has always been deeply important to us and is becoming even more critical to operations in a rapidly changing retail environment.”

Steck said the expanded use of Tally robots was an important step in its effort to improve the customer experience through technology.

“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,” said Brad Bogolea, founder and CEO of Simbe Robotics. Simbe will work with Schnucks to introduce the robots to a variety of store sizes and layouts, he noted.

Shoppers are likely to see more robots at work at their favorite stores. A recent study projected the retail automation market will reach $27.17 billion by 2027.

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