I think we all knew this day was coming, but Meijer has a new employee that is not human that is deciding what goes on the shelves when they are empty.

Every since COVID-19 began in 2020, often when I'm shopping at Meijer, there are shelves that are bare because people buy up certain products faster than others. I shop late at night so the shelves haven't been filled yet.

To help solve this problem of certain products disappearing off shelves early in the day, the Meijer corporation has begun testing a robot employee by the name of Tally to roam the aisles of ten Meijer stores. Tally looks for missing, misplaced and mispriced products.

Here is how Tally works, the robot goes down aisles throughout the store and uses its camera and sensors to detect store shelves, coolers and freezers that need restocking. Tally then sends the information back to human Meijer employees who then go and restock the shelves, coolers and freezers.

This kind of technology is helping Meijer employees focus on their jobs, allowing them to better serve customers, while keeping shelves of popular products restocked.

According to WOOD, Meijer senior manager of corporate communications Christina Fecher said that the first Tally was in a store earlier in the summer as part of a pilot program, which was deemed a success. Tally now operates daily in ten Meijer stores across the Midwest, including the Meijer on Alpine Avenue NW in Walker and the store near Kalamazoo Avenue and M-6 in Gaines Township.

This technology is actually not new. Tally was developed in 2015 by a company by the name of Simbe Robotics. The advanced optical systems help reduce empty shelves by 20% to 30% compared to stores who don't have Tally cruising their isles.

Tally has been sent out to companies all around the world and don't be surprised if Tally shows up at a Meijer location near you. I just wonder how long before the robots will actually be able to stock the shelves instead of humans.

Here is a video of Tally in action:

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