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Inventory Robots Viewed as Essential Part of Store Team

Simbe Robotics shares results of grocery manager survey on the automation capability
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Simbe in store
Simbe robots deployed in stores have become an asset -- and considered a "teammate" -- by many grocery employees, a survey shows.

The makers of Tally have been doing a different kind of tallying. Store intelligence solutions provider Simbe Robotics released the results of recent survey of store managers who use Simbe’s inventory robot, Tally, and who reported positive experiences with the technology.

The survey shows strong satisfaction with the technology, as nearly 90% of store managers who have worked alongside Tally indicating that they are pleased with the experience and would like to keep using the robot. 

[RELATED: Majority of Retailers Are Losing Operating Margin to In-Store Inefficiencies: Report]

The same rate of 9 in 10 managers affirm that Tally makes their jobs easier, whether through pick pack optimization or the automation of monotonous tasks. 

On that efficiency note, three fourths of respondents agreed that Tally creates better processes and most reported that they are more productive as a result. Moreover, 85% of store managers think that the robot enables them to sell more and encourages customer loyalty by creating a better shopping experience. 

“As a former retail store manager, I experienced firsthand the inefficiencies of manually managing inventory and its impact on business operations and team morale,” said Jeremy Wortsman, senior director of customer success at Simbe. “We’re pleased that this inaugural survey so fully quantifies the impact of our technology on operational excellence in retail, as well as store teams’ daily experience and overall fulfillment in their roles. Only Simbe’s customers have produced such results at scale for years, and as we deploy Tally to thousands of new stores in response to increasing demand, we're committed to keeping a pulse on store team sentiment.”

During a panel discussion at Progressive Grocer’s GroceryTech event this week in Dallas, Dave Steck, VP, IT store and emerging technologies, and Kim Anderson, VP of store operations support, for Schnuck Markets, Inc.. shared how Tally has helped the regional retailer improve employee productivity and positivity while enhancing the shopping experience for customers. “People weren’t really sure about it when we started, but found out that it was about doing what needed to do to make their job easier. The robot is now part of the team,” said Anderson of employee reactions to Tally. 

Fellow panelist Caitlin Allen, SVP of market for Simbe, noted that the inventory robot helps grocers optimize pricing with electronic shelf labels that are much efficient than paper tags and also provides fast, valuable information. “The interior of the store is the latest data desert. Robots offer grocer coverage because of their rich data. With Tally, you have one device and with a shelf camera, you have possibly hundreds,” she pointed out. 

Steck underlined that point. “I had no idea how rich the data was going to be and all of the things you can do with it. You think know your store, but you don’t,” he declared. 

He also emphasized improved shopping outcomes for customers. “Shopping lists are sequenced for you in the order you can find items in the store, and that’s thanks to Tally,” Steck said.

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