As concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic continue to escalate, shoppers are stockpiling essentials across the globe in preparation for a potential quarantine Items are going out of stock – robots come to the rescue
From food items to disinfectants and hand sanitizer, all have witnessed around 1400% spike in sales since the virus has hit the world. While other sectors are experiencing an acute crisis, retail is the only one that has witnessed accelerated growth and demand. But, they are facing grave challenges to maintain stocks and getting supplies.
Daily household items are flying off the shelves and becoming unavailable in no time, across both physical and online retailers. Stores are working around the clock to maintain stock, restock shelves, and meet the demand of consumers in the time of crisis. Suppliers are frenzied trying to multiply production and optimize distribution in the wake of demand surges due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Disruptions are expected to get worse in the weeks to come.
In these days of the extreme crisis faced by humans, technology is turning to be the hero fighting on the front lines of COVID-19. Considering the retail industry, autonomous tech is playing a crucial role in maintaining and managing the continuity of supply chains. Robots like Covariant are driving significant improvements in picking efficiency in warehouses globally, and systems like Outrider are automating shipping yard operations, accelerating the deployment of thousands of freight haulers, delivering products quickly to retailers.
On the retail store level, robotic systems like Tally audits are efficiently managing the entire store inventories about three times a day, delivering real-time insights about shelf-health. They are contributing significantly to enhancing customers’ in-store experiences as they are the retailers, CPGs, and brands with highly accurate, timely inventory data. This helps retailers and suppliers to manage the supply chain more smartly and efficiently.
The shelf-scanning robots have helped significantly to ease the retail crunch. The data collected by these robots while roving aisles at retail locations, along with compelling analysis, increase the efficiency of the retailers. It solves multiple issues like – refiling out-of-stock products, inaccurate pricing, checking on special offers, and optimizing the product location. With up-to-date inventory information, retail managers using robots can enact faster operational decisions at the store level with more nimble inventory management. The problem of inadequate and inefficient stock management is so pervasive that inventory mishaps account for more revenue loss than theft.
In the time of Covid-19, it is crucial and life-saving for retail stores to keep critical items in stock to relieve customer tension. Though, robots can’t completely solve the inevitable hiccups in a disrupted and severely taxed supply chain. But, they can, of course, get some ways to avoid them. For instance, the shelf scanning robots can help keep the store personnel focused on helping customers by taking complete responsibility for shelf maintenance and reporting. So, technology is ultimately supporting humans in this unprecedented crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic.