Woodman’s Markets is deploying a series of multi-purpose robots that monitor product availability, verify prices and deliver location data for more than 100,000 items, aligning the grocer with the growing trend of leveraging robotics.
The robots, developed by Badger Technologies, a product division of Jabil, will first be found at locations in Wisconsin and Illinois, and the retailer intends to bring them to all 18 of its stores by the end of the year.
The robots employ imaging tools and neural networks to detect out-of-stock items with, according to Badger, 95% accuracy. They can also reportedly ID incorrect and mispriced products with more than 90% accuracy, and they’re able to distinguish current product locations within a 4-foot section of aisles that typically extend more than 100 feet.
In addition to performing shelf scans, the bots collect and connect data with the Woodman’s mobile shopping app as a way to elevate customer experiences. Their Retail InSight technology tracks item locations, enabling Woodman’s to integrate daily updates into its app to help customers, online order pickers and store associates quickly find all products.
The trending data that the grocer collects, meanwhile, can help with forecasting and managing 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,” said Clint Woodman, Woodman’s Markets president. “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.”
The system, which enables batch picking of multiple orders at once, is designed so it can be scaled down to a small backroom micro-fulfillment center or scaled up for use in a dark store or even mass distribution center.