FEBRUARY 7, 2023

Kum & Go deploys automated robots to scrub store floors

  • Kum & Go is bringing autonomous robots to its more than 400 stores. 
  • The robots, created by ICE Cobotics, will scrub floors, allowing the c-store’s employees more time to do other tasks.
  • Automation is one key area where retailers are investing to better the in-store experience for their customers.
ICE Cobotics Cobi 18, autonomous floor scrubber at Kum & Go Convenience stores

Kum & Go has deployed new floor-cleaning robots throughout its stores in an effort to free up more time for associates. 

According to a Feb. 6 release, the robots will be deployed across all of the c-store’s more than 400 locations. The robots, called Cobi 18, were created by the automation company ICE Cobotics. The robot is designed to work in small spaces — such as the tight aisles of a c-store — and can move around stationary objects. The robots can clean the store floors repeatedly throughout the day, the release said.

Kum & Go says that deploying autonomous technology, such as the new floor-cleaning robots, will help reduce the amount of “repetitive tasks” required of its employees. The c-store predicts the technology will improve the consumer experience as its workers, called associates, can focus on other tasks, like keeping shelves and coolers stocked, preparing fresh food and engaging with the customer.

“Kum & Go’s continuous improvement culture drives us to find equipment and process improvements that make it easier for our store associates to execute,” said Marty Roush, vice president of operations at Kum & Go, in the release. “The choice was easy given the full support model ICE Cobotics provides. We are excited to participate in the development of the Cobi 18 to support stores during times of staffing challenges. 

“Our associates and customers think Cobi is fun, which means it gets used more than any scrubber we have utilized in our stores to date,” he continued. “We’re glad to have Cobi helping us elevate our associate and customer experience.”

As Retail Leader Pro recently reported, automation is one key area where retailers can invest to improve the experience for consumers at a time when many are dissatisfied with the in-store shopping experience. Automated floor cleaners are one area where retailers across sectors have already invested. Walmart-owned Sam’s Club last fall upgraded its autonomous floor-scrubbing robots — first deployed in 2020 — to include inventory-scanning sensors, which the wholesale club chain said would help increase accuracy, improve product availability and reduce waste.

“All of this is centered around making retail more efficient and more cost effective in retailers daily activities,” said Elizabeth Lafontaine, chief retail analyst for Retail Leader Pro. “Striking the right balance between human capital and technology is challenging, especially as retail is still an industry that relies heavily on the in-store experience.” 

You can read the original press here.

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