Woodman’s Markets to deploy aisle-roving robots
To drive operational efficiency at its large-format stores, Midwestern grocer Woodman’s Markets this year plans a chainwide rollout of aisle-scanning robots from Badger Technologies.
The self-propelled robots will track on-shelf availability of products, verify prices and deliver exacting location data for more than 100,000 items at each Woodman’s location, most of which occupy over 200,000 square feet, Nicholasville, Ky.-based Badger said Tuesday.
Deployments of the autonomous robots at Woodman’s stores are under way, and the units are expected to be in operation at all of the Janesville, Wis.-based retailer’s 18 locations in Wisconsin and Illinois by the end of 2020.
The self-propelled robots will track on-shelf availability of products, verify prices and deliver exacting location data for more than 100,000 items at each Woodman’s location. (Photo courtesy of Badger Technologies)
Equipped with Badger’s Retail InSight solution, the roving robots will automate storewide shelf scans for out-of-stocks and price compliance, eliminating the task of manually performing these duties across the huge floor space at Woodman’s grocery superstores. Badger noted that the data collected by the robots also will give Woodman’s a deeper view of purchasing trends, allowing it to better forecast and manage commodities and vendors with frequent stock issues.
“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,” Clint Woodman, president of Woodman’s Markets, said in a statement. “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.”
Badger Retail InSight also monitors product locations, allowing Woodman’s to integrate daily updates into its mobile shopping app to help customers, online order pickers and store associates find items quickly. In turn, the automated process aids collaboration with pricing departments, improving the prioritization of replenishment lists and evaluating planogram compliance, Badger said.
“Most Woodman’s stores are over 240,000 square feet, nearly six times larger than the grocery industry average,” according to Tim Rowland, CEO of Badger Technologies, a division of Jabil. “Not only can our robots perform shelf scans in hours instead of days, but they collect and connect critical data with the Woodman’s mobile shopping app to take customer experiences to the next level.”
Badger said imaging tools and neural networks enable its autonomous robots to detect out-of-stock items with more than 95% accuracy and to identify incorrect and mispriced products with over 90% accuracy. The robots, too, discern current product locations within a four-foot section of aisles that typically extend more than 100 feet, the company said.
Other U.S. grocery retailers that have deployed Badger’s robots include Ahold Delhaize USA’s Giant/Martin’s and Stop & Shop supermarket chains, which use the technology to assist in store maintenance and safety, such as by flagging aisle hazards like spills.
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