Sam's Club has deployed of an army of 600 multitalented inventory robots at its stores nationwide, adding to the growing list of companies that are turning to automation for jobs workers used to perform.
The robots perform two functions. They were originally deployed as autonomous floor scrubbers, a job that they've been successful at and will continue to do. But new technology has been attached to them that allows them to also scan inventory while they scrub, making them very efficient robots that have no problem doing two jobs at once. (No word on if they can pat their heads and rub their bellies at the same time.)
The added inventory-scan towers keep a robotic eye on the merchandise and collect data that is sent to store managers. They can verify price accuracy, ensure displays are correct and tidy, and take stock of products that are running low or need to be restocked, all jobs that would be time-consuming if done by employees — not to mention humans make mistakes.
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Sam's Club began rolling out the inventory robot technology in January 2022. It's not the first big retailer to do so, though. Grocery chains Hy-Vee, Giant Eagle, and Save Mart have implemented similar automated inventory technology. Walmart, Sam's Club's parent company, tested inventory robots in 500 stores a couple of years ago but ended up pulling the plug and opting for simpler solutions.