Retail Inventory Management Today
Fellow Robots has spent years developing the next step in retail inventory management. For years retailers have struggled to solve the problems of reach – that is when you can no longer reach out and touch the people that you are supervising or selling to, it becomes more and more difficult to efficiently manage a distributed workforce.
Traditionally, retailers have had to use drill-down tools and data warehouses to report and analyze and make improvements to the product mix in place at stores.
When it comes to ensuring compliance with those plans, however, retailers have relied on field management and an audit process to ensure compliance with corporate direction.
Theses manual efforts or semi-automated efforts are not getting the results expected. Compliance with planograms is often less than 50% today. In some cases, items are more than 10 yards away from where they belong according to the merchanding manager’s planograms.
The manual efforts using pricing guns and manual review of planograms and looking for out of stocks is labor intensive. Different retailers spend different amounts on these efforts so the potential for savings varies, but it is safe to say that hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent yearly per store in stores above 100,000 sq. ft.
Robots are being tested in retailers
Retailers today are starting to experiment with the use of robots in retail to scan the store and send information about store conditions to the retail management systems and personnel to review.
This is a great use of robotics to collect information on a regular basis and send that information to the management staff of the company to review and analyze.
The typical use case of a robot in a large format retail store is to scan the entire store every day and identify three key items:
- Planogram compliance
- Out of Stocks
- Pricing Errors
Each day every exception can be identified by the in-store robot.
Fellow combines Robots and AI in Retail
At Fellow, we take it one step further. We combine the use of Navii, our instore Robot and data feeds from the retailers legacy systems, combine both with our AI engine and we provide actionable information to the store manager and rolled up prioritized reporting for field and corporate managers so they know where they have problem stores that need the attention of operations and merchanding managers.
Actions are prioritized by impact and sent to handheld devices in the store to direct employees through work assignments to correct:
- Shelf tag errors
- Restocking out of stocks from inventory on hand but not on the shelf
- Planograms sections that need attention
Field and District management, as well as the corporate office staff, are provided with exception reporting directing their attention to the most egregious problem stores. For more information on how we are improving retail inventory management contact us.