Woodman's Markets has teamed up with Badger Technologies, a product division of Jabil, to roll out multipurpose robots at all its locations by the end of 2020. The robots will monitor product availability, verify prices and deliver precise location data for more than 100,000 items at each location.
"Most Woodman’s stores are over 240,000 square feet, nearly six times larger than the grocery industry average," said Tim Rowland, CEO of Badger Technologies. "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."
According to Badger Technologies, the imaging tools and neural networks enable the robots to detect out-of-stock items with more then 95% accuracy and incorrect and mispriced items with over 90% accuracy. They can also discern current product locations within a 4-foot section of aisles that typically extend more than 100 feet.
The technology aims to eliminate arduous manual tasks, especially given each store's large floor space, and forecast and manage commodities and vendors by using critical trending data.
"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, president of Woodman’s Markets. "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 keeps track of item locations, enabling Woodman’s to integrate daily updates into its mobile shopping app to help customers, online order pickers and store associates quickly find all products. This automated process also is proving essential to collaborations with pricing departments, improving the prioritization of replenishment lists and assessing planogram compliance.
Woodmans isn't the first grocer to use Badger Technologies autonomous robots. There are more than 500 in grocers nationwide, including tests with Walmart in Kentucky.
Woodman’s operates 18 independent, employee-owned grocery stores in Wisconsin and Illinois. The Janesville, Wisconsin-based grocer is No. 84 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's list of the top food retailers in North America.