Sam’s Club deploys inventory scanning robots across the chain

BENTONVILLE, Ark. and SAN DIEGO, Ca.-Sam’s Club completed a deployment of inventory scan rounds which have been added to its existing fleet of floor cleaning robots. The club store had started adding the inventory towers to its robots in January, and now all locations have the technology added.

“Our original goal at Sam’s Club was to convert time spent on scrubbers into more member-focused activities. Our scrubbers have exceeded that goal. In addition to increasing the consistency and frequency of floor cleaning, the smart scrubbers have gave associates essential information,” said Todd Garner, vice president, club product management.

The rollout was done in partnership with artificial intelligence company Brain Corp. Once installed on the scrubber, the cloud-connected inventory scanning tower captures data as it moves autonomously around the store. Scrubbers then capture information such as product location, planogram compliance, product inventory levels, and verifying price accuracy for items that will be delivered to the store.

According to Sam’s Club, each feature eliminates the need for time-consuming and potentially inaccurate manual processes that can impact product availability, member experience, or create waste caused by inaccurate orders.

“The speed and efficiency of deploying this next-generation retail technology with Sam’s Club is a testament to the strength of our team,” said David Pinn, CEO of Brain Corp. “Through the use of Inventory Scan, Sam’s Clubs across the country are able to access a wealth of real-time critical inventory data, which they can use to better inform decision-making, manage their clubs more efficiently and provide a better club experience for their members.”

Robot work is growing amid the country’s labor shortage. Orders for workplace robots increased by 40% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the first quarter of 2021, which is a record amount. The United States has been slower to adopt robotics than other industrialized countries.

Last month, Love’s Travel Stops opened its first Jamba by Blendid autonomous robotic kiosk at its store in Williams, California. The stand-alone kiosk allows customers to customize their smoothie orders by adjusting ingredient quantities or adding boosts directly through the Blendid app. They can order on the spot or pre-schedule a preferred pickup time via the mobile app.

In the restaurant industry, robots are automating the process of frying potatoes, onion rings and other foods, which can reduce the number of employees needed in the kitchen and speed up service times. driving. Earlier this year, Panera Bread tested an automated coffee machine from Miso Robotics at two locations. The coffee system uses artificial intelligence to monitor coffee volume and temperature and it also contains data so that Panera can analyze what type of coffee its customers are enjoying and when.

Chipotle also invested in Hyphen, a restaurant platform designed to help restaurateurs, operators and chefs advance their business by automating kitchen operations. The company’s first product, The Makeline, is an automated system that uses advanced robotics and a custom operating system to place and fulfill orders. The QSR also announced that it is testing advanced technologies to improve the experience of its employees and customers by streamlining operations and reducing friction.

While many industry watchers say the pandemic has triggered a “fundamental retail reset,” new technologies, including robotics, machine learning and AI, are also being deployed faster to enable operators to meet the “new normal”. Read more in the NACS magazine article, “Robots deliver.”