Hy-Vee partners with Simbe for ‘Tally,’ automated inventory robot

Hy-Vee's new Tally inventory robot.

Shoppers at Hy-Vee will have to get used to sharing the aisle with robots.

The Iowa-based supermarket chain, which operates over 240 stores throughout the Midwest, announced recently that it is deploying Simbe Robotics’ Tally inventory management robots at locations in Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri.

Tally uses computer vision and radio-frequency identification (RFID) to scan shelves, checking stock levels and shelf placement for quicker insights. It also makes data-informed inventory recommendations.

“Hy-Vee has a strong reputation for excellent customer service and an employee-first culture,” Luke Tingley, senior vice president and chief information officer at Hy-Vee, said in a statement. “By employing Tally, we can continue providing that excellent service by reducing out of stocks and empowering our store teams with real-time insights to ensure the best customer experience across the board.”

Tally is a power tool and productivity driver for store teams, providing them with actionable insights that can reduce out-of-stocks by up to 30 percent, allowing teams to focus on more engaging tasks such as servicing customers.

By gaining greater visibility into store conditions, Tally helps streamline operations and ensures that retailers can provide the best customer experience in-store, in addition to making better, more informed business decisions – like more accurate order forecasting and optimizing the store layout to support sales. This data, combined with Tally’s plug-and-play software platform and APIs, gives employees real-time recommendations to improve store operations and maximize customer satisfaction.

Tally requires no infrastructure changes to the store environment to operate effectively and is designed to be unobtrusive shoppers. The robot strategically navigates store aisles during normal store hours, safely maneuvering alongside shoppers and employees.

“No other retail solution supports store teams the way Tally does. The pandemic truly created a ‘new normal’ for grocery that has illuminated the need for a greater frequency and fidelity of in-store data,” said Brad Bogolea, CEO and co-founder of Simbe Robotics. “Hy-Vee is the perfect example of thoughtfully adopting technology to improve the store experience for both customers and their teams. As retailers face a growing number of considerations, Tally provides a cost-effective solution that ensures they can continue to provide excellent customer service and create a valuable, more enjoyable working environment for their employees.”

Tally robots are already in Hy-Vee stores in Ankeny and Lincoln, Nebraska, and will be rolling out to locations in Altoona, Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and Omaha, Nebraska, in the coming weeks.