Woodman’s Deploys Autonomous Robots in its Stores

A fleet of robots has begun to roam the aisles of Woodman’s Markets in Wisconsin and Illinois and is expected to roll out across the chain’s 18 stores by the end of the year, announced Badger Technologies, makers of robotic technology.

These robots will monitor product availability, verify prices and deliver precise location data for more than 100,000 items at each location.

The company said the autonomous robots, equipped with Badger® Retail InSight, are part of a complete retail automation solution that is enabling Woodman’s to elevate store execution, lower operational costs and increase store profits.

“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.”

The deployment of Badger Technologies’ autonomous robots at Woodman’s grocery stores is underway. Innovative imaging tools and neural networks enable the Badger Technologies autonomous robots to detect out-of-stock items with more than 95 percent accuracy.

Incorrect and mispriced products are identified with over 90 percent accuracy. Badger Technologies autonomous robots also discern current product locations within a four-foot section of aisles that typically extend more than 100 feet, according to the company, which is a division of Jabil’s products.

Woodman’s employee-owned supermarkets celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2019 and have been among the first to adopt digital technology to improve operations and shopping experiences.

“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.”

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According to Badger Technologies, the ability to automate storewide shelf scans for out-of-stocks and price compliance will eliminate arduous manual tasks, especially given each store’s large floor space. Additionally, Woodman’s can take advantage of critical trending data to better forecast and manage commodities and vendors with frequent stock issues.

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.

To date, more than 500 Badger Technologies shelf scanning, hazard detecting, and security monitoring robots have traveled approximately 500,000 miles on behalf of grocers worldwide. In addition to automating monotonous and mundane tasks, these multipurpose robots help retailers keep shelves stocked with products that are priced and placed correctly while ensuring store aisles and floors are clean and safe.

With information from Business Wire