ShopRite Tests Robot Employees in Select New Jersey Locations

ShopRite Robot Tally
Tally the Robot, Courtesy of Simbe Robotics

ShopRite Robot Tally


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In a move to embrace technological advancements in the retail sector, ShopRite has introduced Tally, an inventory robot, to 20 of its stores in New Jersey. This initiative is spearheaded by Wakefern Food Corporation, the parent company of ShopRite.

Wakefern shared the positive outcomes of this pilot program, stating, “The stores leveraged Simbe’s real-time insights, significantly reducing out-of-stock rates, maximizing inventory availability, and surpassing industry standards.” For clarity, Simbe refers to Simbe Robotics, the creators of Tally.

Details regarding which specific ShopRite locations will feature Tally and the timeline for its wider implementation remain undisclosed. Tally’s role is to navigate store aisles, ensuring that products are adequately stocked, arranged, and priced. This technological integration allows human employees to concentrate more on customer interactions. As per Simbe’s data, Tally can efficiently process between 15,000 and 30,000 products an hour while coexisting seamlessly with the store’s staff.

This isn’t Wakefern’s first foray into automation. Previously, they explored the idea of autonomous check-out technology, which would utilize a smartphone app and a QR code, potentially making traditional checkout lanes obsolete. In a similar vein, H Mart, an Asian grocery chain from Lyndhurst, unveiled plans in 2021 for an automated “micro-fulfillment center” in Carlstadt.

However, the surge in automation has ramifications for the grocery workforce, a sector once characterized by higher unionization rates and long-term career prospects. While automation is becoming prevalent in areas like hospitality, with robots now preparing dishes in several New Jersey locales, the complete takeover of automation remains uncertain. Luck Sarabhayavanija, owner of Ani Ramen in Cranford, highlights the irreplaceable warmth and versatility of human workers in the hospitality domain, emphasizing that certain nuances of hospitality might be compromised with automation.



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