Robots Hit the Aisles at Vallarta Supermarkets

Badger Technologies and Vallarta Supermarkets launched a pilot program to strengthen the grocery stores’ operational and customer service systems. Badger Technologies’ multipurpose autonomous robots will roam the aisles of five Vallarta Supermarkets in Fresno, Kern, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino counties supporting the retailer in identifying problems.

Vallarta is also testing the robot’s inventory management capabilities at a sixth location to improve on-shelf product availability.

“Providing our customers with a clean, safe environment is critical to our customers’ experience,” said Steve Netherton, CIO and VP of Continuous Improvement at Vallarta Supermarkets, a Hispanic grocery chain of 53 full-service markets throughout California.

“When we look at where to invest in innovative technologies, improving store operations is always a high priority. The Badger Technologies robots are helping us set new standards for in-store safety and cleanliness while ensuring a superlative shopping experience,” added Netherton.

Founded in 1985, Sylmar, Calif.-based Vallarta Supermarkets is recognized as one of the largest Latino supermarket chains in the state.

Related Article: Vallarta Supermarkets Partners with Flashfood to Reduce Food Waste and Save Shoppers Money

Prioritizing Store Safety and Cleanliness

Vallarta’s initial proof-of-concept (POC) featured a robot equipped with Badger Retail InSpect to complement existing manual floor inspections with automatic hazard detection. After the POC exceeded expectations, Vallarta implemented a five-store pilot to support them in identifying hazards, such as spills of liquids, powders, or bulk-item foods, while potentially mitigating risks of slip-and-fall accidents.

The robot delivers hazard notifications to the store’s public-address system and mobile pulse alerts. Images are collected and stored for a period for archival purposes.

“The robot gives us another pair of eyes to be more proactive in pinpointing spills and debris,” said Suzanne Wong, Director of Operational Excellence at Vallarta Supermarkets. “The result is heightened awareness among our staff and customers that we prioritize store safety and cleanliness. Other benefits include improvements in customer service, labor efficiency, and data for risk management.”

Data-Driven Business Outcomes

Vallarta Supermarkets has further initiated a POC at a sixth store to test a robot equipped with Badger Retail InSight for automated detection of out-of-stock product inventory. Cloud-based analytics and reporting software generate a list of absent, misplaced and/or mispriced products for issue remediation. Dashboard data provides insights into customer buying trends along with the performance of product displays and advertising promotions. This automated process also assists Vallarta’s pricing departments with collaborating and prioritizing product restocking.

“The opportunities to offload tedious but important floor inspections while gathering real-time data on product inventory makes a huge difference for retailers, especially as they grapple with continued labor shortages,” said William “BJ” Santiago, CEO of Badger Technologies. “Our multipurpose autonomous robots offer much-needed relief by amplifying and extending staff operations while producing the data needed to improve customer satisfaction, storewide operations, and retail revenues.”

Nearly 600 Badger Technologies autonomous robots have been deployed throughout the U.S. and Australia. These multipurpose robots travel hundreds of thousands of miles yearly to keep shelves stocked, products priced correctly, and floors clean. As part of Jabil, Badger Technologies has access to leading-edge retail technologies, innovative cloud software, services, and world-class manufacturing solutions.

Badger Technologies is a product division of Jabil, a manufacturing solutions provider that delivers comprehensive design, manufacturing, supply chain, and product management services. Badger Technologies’ retail automation solutions feature autonomous robots that capture and share valuable data designed to improve operations and financial performance.

Retail robots automate hazard detection and expedite issue resolution while also addressing a host of inventory and data disconnects to improve profitability and shopping experiences. Badger Technologies also has developed an autonomous ultraviolet disinfecting robot designed to combat high-risk pathogens and an autonomous robot for the security guard industry.