库存管理机器人Shelfie 能为超市省下大笔管理费

对于动辄就要处理数万种商品的连锁超市来说,一个高效的库存管理系统不但能提高超市的工作效率,还能大幅降低管理成本。现在一家英国连锁超市就用悉尼新创公司 Lakeba 研发的云计算库存管理机器人对自家的库存管理系统进行了现代化改造。这款名为 Shelfie 的库管机器人将进入英国的 Co-Op 连锁超市,它结合了图片捕捉、数据分析等功能,而背后的云计算大脑则来自微软 Azure 平台。该产品可作为机器人、无人机或手持设备使用,能扫描货架和产品价签并实时将库存情况反映给销售人员。

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http://www.crn.com.au/news/uk-supermarket-co-op-trials-sydney-developed-shelfie-robot-that-could-save-billions-448646

UK supermarket Co-Op trials Sydney-developed Shelfie robot that could save billions

A United Kingdom supermarket chain will adopt a cloud-enabled inventory management robot developed by Sydney technology entrepreneur Lakeba, in a move that could see retail stock management modernised and big costs shaved from supermarkets.

Soon to be piloted at the UK's Co-Op, Shelfie combines robotics, image-capturing technology and data analytics on Microsoft’s Azure cloud to scan shelves and price tickets, delivering real-time stock reporting to a dashboard built on Power BI to provide merchandising insights. The device is available as a robot, drone or as a handheld unit.

Pricing for a Shelfie setup depends on the size of the retailer, with a small convenience store-sized solution to cost about $10,000, an average supermarket rollout costing about $20,000 and a very big supermarket, or hypermarket operation to cost about $30,000.

Once connected to an in-store wi-fi system, Shelfie maps the store’s layout, scans shelves, identifies stock levels and captures pricing information from labels. An aisle scan provides information on when stocks are running low, and can automatically alert staff to restock. Lakeba reports that a full supermarket stocktake takes about three hours to conduct.

According to global retail research and advisory firm IHL Group, about $1.1 trillion dollars in revenue worldwide is lost each year because retailers either run out of popular stock, or overstock unwanted products. Lakeba’s Shelfie aims to tackle this by collecting data and analysing it through Microsoft Azure to determine which products are in constant demand and which do not sell as fast.

Shelfie chief executive Darren Younger, also a non-executive director at Lakeba, said in addition to the robot’s ability to determine stocking issues, retail managers could use the device to measure how quickly stock shortages were addressed, providing a benchmark for the store’s performance.

“We call this the Shelfie Index,” he said. “A 0-100 score based on store stock and layout. We forecast that beyond optimising existing revenue chains, Shelfie can deliver cost savings of up to $300,000 per store per year – for a grocery retailer operating hundreds of stores it can quickly equate to a sizeable saving, freeing up time and resource to be invested in other operational areas.”

Marcy Larsen, retail lead at Microsoft Australia said Shelfie’s partnership with Azure allowed the platform to scale and be operated internationally.

“Microsoft Azure is the cornerstone of Shelfie, which leverages Active Directory, SQL Database and Content Delivery Network. This supports image capture and data analysis in real-time,” she said.

“In the future Shelfie will be integrated with Microsoft Dynamics 365 to automate stock ordering – and Azure’s rich range of machine learning and cognitive services will allow Lakeba to create solutions that will truly transform retail.”

The robot has also attracted admiration from the Australian Retailers Association, with executive director Russell Zimmerman calling the product “a revolution”.

“The Shelfie robot is an innovation developed by Australians that will revolutionise supermarkets ability to forecast stock requirements both in Australia and overseas retailers,” he said.

Pictured above: Shelfie chief executive Darren Younger with the robot and drone variations of the device.


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