Shelf Stacking Robots Introduced in Japanese Convenience Store Chain | Features and Analysis


Technology company Telexistence will install artificial intelligence robots in 300 locations of the convenience chain FamilyMart in Japan.

The TX SCARA is capable of restocking refrigerated shelves with bottles and cans and can operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, restocking shelves at a rate of up to 1,000 bottles and cans per day. relying almost entirely on its AI system (known as “GORDON”) to know when and where products should be placed on the shelves.

According to FamilyMart, the robots allow retailers to “take advantage of the newly created time and economic surplus in the store environment” and allow them to “focus on further improvements for employees and customers, as well as the profitability of each store.

Tomohiro Kano, General Manager of Store Development Department and Railway and Corporate Franchise Department of FamilyMart, said, “The declining labor force in Japan is one of the major management issues for FamilyMart to maintain stability. store operations. The introduction of Telexistence robots in FamilyMart stores will eliminate the need for store employees to restock beverages in refrigerators, and the newly created time can be reallocated to customer service and shop improvement, leading to better store operations.

Telexistence CEO Jin Tomioka explained that the lack of personnel was the reason for this innovation. “Currently, the biggest limiting factor for any industry, in any nation, is human resources. Especially in developed countries like Japan, the shortage of human labor is quickly becoming evident in the retail and logistics sectors, which support human life in society,” Tomioka said. “We encourage large-scale production and social implementation of our robots for industries other than factory automation, industries that function as the infrastructure of daily life in society. We will also bring our automated workforce solutions to other regions, such as the United States. »

He added, “Telexistence robots will become a powerful influence, providing a virtually inexhaustible source of new manpower. New excess resources will be appropriately redistributed through market mechanisms, and in the long term this may lead to the transition of human society to be greatly augmented by automated labor.

Telexistence plans to expand to convenience stores in the United States where more than half of consumers say they visit one of the country’s 150,000 convenience stores at least once a month.

When asked by if this initiative would be rolled out in the UK, a Telexistence spokesperson said: “Our technology can be applied in any geography and is currently specifically targeting the convenience stores. Due to resource constraints, we have not yet explored expansion into Europe or the UK, but we are certainly interested in learning more about the retail market in these countries for future expansion.

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