New 'Tally' robot designed to rapidly take stock of store shelves

Dive Brief:

  • A new robot from San Francisco startup Simbe is designed to travel the aisles of retail stores to check merchandise stock and placement. 
  • Tally detaches from a charging dock, then takes high-resolution images of shelves and compares them to an ideal layout, reporting back to store staffers and managers. 
  • The robot can perform stock functions about 25 times faster than humans equipped with hand-held scanners, Simbe says. 

Dive Insight:

Long used in manufacturing for repetitive functions, robots are entering the supply chain at the retail level to alleviate tedious tasks. Simbe Robotics’ Tally is the latest to promise to help humans with issues that arise in retail.

Lowe’s OSHbot performs limited customer service functions in stores, leading customers to the aisles and products they need. And the robot twins Fetch and Freight are designed to perform limited pick-and-pack functions in warehouses. Tally, however, could help supply the shelf-level data that’s often a missing link in the omnichannel supply chain.

Tally travels store aisles capturing high-resolution images to compare to an ideal layout, feeding the data to store staffers, managers and suppliers before returning to its charging dock. Tally can check stock at a Walgreens-sized strore in about an hour, according to Simbe officials, whereas human employees would take about 25 hours to perform the same tasks. The company is offering the robot as a service at launch. 

Filed Under: Technology Logistics
Top image credit: Smile Robotics