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10/19/2022

EYE on RETAIL: Sam's Club robots clean floors and scan inventory

A chainwide rollout of inventory scan towers has been added to Sam's existing fleet of robotic scrubbers.
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Sam's Club Robot
Sam’s Club finalizes national deployment of inventory scan towers for floor scrubbing robots (Photo courtesy of CNW Group/Brain Corp).

The warehouse club division of Walmart now performs floor scrubbing and inventory scanning with autonomous in-store robots across its entire chain.

Sam's Club has completed a national, chainwide rollout of inventory scan towers that have been added to its existing fleet of robotic scrubbers. The company is partnering with artificial intelligence (AI)- based robotic platform provider Brain Corp. in the initiative.

The warehouse club retailer began adding inventory scan functionality to its fleet of autonomous floor scrubbers in January 2022. Utilizing a first-of-its-kind dual-function design, the new scanning accessory has been fitted to the almost 600 autonomous floor scrubbers already deployed within Sam's Clubs locations nationwide.

The towers run on Brain Corp's BrainOS AI operating system.Once installed on the scrubber, the cloud-connected inventory scan tower captures data as it moves autonomously around the club. The tower can capture and report real-time data such as product localization, planogram compliance, product stock levels, and verification of pricing accuracy, eliminating the need for manual processes and improving accuracy and efficiency.

Sam’s Club initially began expanding its retail shelf analytics pilot using Brain Corp.’s floor scrubber accessory for localizing and analyzing shelf inventory, with the goal of improving in-store shopping experiences, in October 2020. Following a successful six-month proof of concept, Sam’s Club made the decision to further expand the pilot in January 2022.

Sam’s Club parent Walmart has been using BrainOS-powered automated scrubbers in at least 1,800 stores across the U.S. since 2019. The deployment of inventory scan towers at Sam’s Club marks the first commercial application of Brain Corp.’s inventory scanning technology anywhere in the world.

[Read more: Sam’s Club keeps the floors clean – with help from robots]

“Our initial goal at Sam's Club was to convert time historically spent on scrubbers to more member-focused activities. Our autonomous scrubbers have exceeded this goal. In addition to increasing the consistency and frequency of floor cleaning, intelligent scrubbers have empowered associates with critical insights," said Todd Garner, VP, in-club product management, Brain Corp. "At Sam's Club, we have a member-obsessed culture. These scrubbers help associates ensure products are out for sale, priced correctly and findable, ultimately making it easier to directly engage with our members."

"The speed and efficiency of the deployment of this next-generation retail technology with Sam's Club is a testament to the strength of our team," said David Pinn, CEO at Brain Corp. "Through the use of Inventory Scan, Sam's Clubs across the country are able to access a trove of critical inventory data in real time, which they can use to better inform decision making, run their clubs more efficiently and provide a better in-club experience for their members."

Sam's Club, a division of Walmart Inc., is headquartered in Bentonville, Ark. and operates nearly 600 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

(This article originally appeared in HBSDealer's sister publication, Chainstoreage.com.)

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