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Robotic Scrubbers and Inventory Scan Alleviate Labor Crunch

December 14, 2022 9:49 AM by Tennant Company

Posted in Cleaning Solutions Productivity Robotic Cleaning Machines Industry News & Trends

Labor shortages are ongoing, according to September 2022 data from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data—and there’s little letup in sight. The retail industry is heavily impacted, with 70% of current job openings unfulfilled. What does this mean for keeping retail stores clean and making sure shelves are properly stocked?

Enter robotic floor scrubbers and inventory scanning robots. These two autonomous solutions can help mitigate labor challenges by driving operational efficiencies and maintaining a high standard of cleaning. Fully autonomous scrubbers are designed to work safely and efficiently alongside employees and customers. Paired with robotic inventory scanning technology, these solutions together help retailers maintain clean stores while optimizing inventory management.

70% Jobs Unfulfilled

Commercial Floor Cleaning Robots to the Rescue

Robotics Growth

Retailers have used robots in various warehouse applications for decades. By 2025, 150,000 new mobile robots are expected to be deployed in brick-and-mortar retailers, according to global technology intelligence firm ABI Research. That’s because autonomous cleaning addresses a range of challenges in retail operations—labor shortages, labor costs, high turnover, proof of cleaning, and safety concerns. Analysts also expect the use of robots in retail will grow nearly 50% annually through 2030.

Finding and hiring qualified cleaning staff continues to be a challenge for retail operations. That’s why using commercial floor cleaning robots to safely and efficiently keep retail spaces clean and hygienic makes good business sense. Compact autonomous cleaning robots can clean narrow aisles and spaces while navigating around people and stationary obstacles.

Autonomous cleaning isn’t intended to replace your current staff, rather it’s a means to reallocate the limited number of employees you have to other high-value cleaning tasks. Autonomous cleaning is a more efficient and reliable way to clean floors as robotic cleaning equipment is more thorough, deliberate, and efficient than human operators. Robotic floor scrubbers enable you to allocate resources to other higher value tasks, increasing productivity/operational efficiency.

On-Board Inventory Scanning Robots

With retailers contending with ongoing staff shortages and inventory shrinkage, an automated solution for inventory management makes perfect sense. According to the Food Industry Association, the average supermarket in the U.S. is 48,466 square feet and carriers 31,119 items. That’s a lot of area and items to cover for employees performing manual inventory management—especially in a tight labor market.

A robotic inventory scanning system can be integrated with an autonomous floor cleaning robot—enabling the scrubber to both scan inventory and clean. This first-of-its-kind technology uses computer vision and analytics technologies to capture high-quality inventory and store-mapping data using your Tennant AMR floor scrubber that carries out your daily scrubbing. It collects real-time, on-shelf data and eliminates the need for cameras on shelves, drones or other technologies that are potentially disruptive to the customer experience.

Inventory scanning systems can ease labor pressures and free up employees who perform time-consuming inventory management tasks for other high value tasks such as helping customers or other business needs. It also helps optimize inventory availability, price accuracy validation, real-time product and store mapping, planogram compliance, and smart labor re-deployment.

Inventory Scan

Retailer Implements Inventory Scanning Robots

A retail giant deployed Tennant Inventory Scan automated robots on its fleet of nearly 600 Tennant autonomous floor scrubbing robots already in use nationwide. The scrubbers with inventory scanning robots were intended to help ensure products were on shelves, prices were correct, customers could easily find products and free up time for associates to engage directly with customers.

The autonomous scrubbers have exceeded the company’s goal. Along with improving floor cleaning consistency and frequency, the intelligent scrubbers delivered critical insights for the retailer’s associated. In addition, each function of the Inventory Scan tower negates the need for time-consuming and potentially inaccurate manual processes that can impact product availability, customer experience or create waste caused by inaccurate ordering.

Contact us for information on Tennant’s robotic floor scrubbers and inventory scanning system.


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