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Automation in supermarkets to improve the working environment

The retail industry is changing rapidly. To meet the high demands of consumers and their behaviour, the sector must adapt and adopt new technologies.

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The retail industry is very dynamic and changing rapidly. Especially in supermarkets, they have to adapt quickly to trends and use new technologies to meet the high demands and behavior of consumers.

Labor shortages, some physically demanding tasks and the fact that employees have to perform multiple tasks in one day can lead to lower productivity and efficiency in supermarkets.

Overall, automation can accelerate supermarket transformation to meet customer needs and increase efficiency, productivity and labor standards.

In recent years, supermarkets have faced a host of problems, namely labor shortage, changing customer behavior (online shopping) and economic problems such as inflation and supply chain disruption, which make the supermarket environment even more difficult.

Challenges that need to be addressed to make professions more attractive

Labor shortage is a common phenomenon in supermarkets. For example, of the 950 job postings posted on major websites, more than 900 were for salespeople only.

There are many reasons why supermarkets are understaffed. Employees have to juggle between different tasks, from helping customers to replenishing supplies to monitoring workflow and complex operations. Supermarkets face the challenge of motivating their staff and managing a low retention rate. The low birth rate also leads to insufficient applicants.

While workers in the manufacturing and warehouse sectors have reaped the benefits of automation through improved working conditions, the retail industry, meanwhile, is still largely dependent on human labor and automation needs are significant.

Manual handling is used in workflows such as replenishment and is a contributing factor in muscle strains and sprains. It is one of the most common injuries among retail workers, which can lead to several days of sick leave.

Grocery store workers can suffer from these injuries, whether due to inadequate training in lifting or handling techniques, heavy equipment, pushing and pulling heavy loads, or even simply repetitive movements.

They also have to perform many repetitive tasks during their working hours that are repeated throughout the day, such as pushing carts, moving pallets/products around the store, returning unsold products to the warehouse during promotions, going back and forth between the store and the warehouse. ..

40% of store associates’ work time is spent walking, pushing and pulling heavy loads. Employees walk an average of 20,000 steps per shift and the walking distance between warehouse and store can be ±500 metres. For example, each trip in the click & collect service takes about 45 minutes, with an average of nine trips per day per person involving pushing and pulling heavy loads.

In general, many jobs require workers to walk from destination to destination and handle heavy loads.

Automation of tasks to improve the working environment

Introducing more automated solutions in the supermarket sector can be a beneficial solution to address these issues.

For employees, automation will create a safer working environment and higher work standards, increase their satisfaction and free them from repetitive and tedious tasks, enabling them to meet the needs of other customers.

In terms of businesses, automation enables retailers to reduce operating costs, save time, offer better prices to customers and solve the problem of labor shortage, all while adding an image and forward-thinking store identity.

At the same time, customers will be able to enjoy cheaper products and better customer service from employees, which will provide them with a better shopping experience. The reliability of automation provides benefits for various retail players.

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