RFID enables robot inventory

December 16, 2020

How RFID enables autonomous robot-based inventory management at a sporting goods retailer

Automated inventory counting can be considered a retailer’s dream. Simbe, the San Francisco-based retail robotics company, refers to this dream as “retail nirvana” – and its  fully-autonomous inventory robot, Tally, makes it a reality for even the most challenging retail environments. For experiential retailers such as Decathlon Sporting Goods, where products are often misplaced by curious, demo-trying visitors, inventory management is particularly challenging. Thanks to Tally, it’s autonomously taken care of so store teams can focus on customer service instead of the tedious task of counting products in store. 

Today, Tally autonomously handles inventory audits in Decathlon’s US stores, strategically roaming each location every day to scan tags with state-of-the-art UHF RFID technology – supplied by Avery Dennison – to capture real-time insights about what’s happening on the sales floor. The data Tally collects is sent to Decathlon’s US information system, where product replenishment orders are fulfilled. Soon, the local store team will also get reports of misplaced items – such as a basketball found in the shoe department – so that they can keep products organized and ensure items are where customers expect to find them.    

“At Simbe, we believe better inventory data is the key to unlocking massive efficiency and opportunity across the retail supply chain. We look forward to continuing to provide the most advanced solution on the market to the retail industry’s most challenging, common pain point – inventory management.” — Brad Bogolea, co-founder and CEO of Simbe

Tally is equipped with both RFID and Computer Vision capabilities for optimum accuracy 
Decathlon utilizes AD-324u8 and AD-383u7 product tags, that are read by Tally’s built-in RFID reader, complementing Tally’s computer vision capabilities. Leveraging that dual-modality of RFID and Computer Vision, Tally is able to perform daily RFID scans with incredible accuracy and reliability – of more than 97% – while simultaneously inspecting shelves for pricing errors and analyzing the store layout for shelf optimization. 

Simbe just unveiled the latest generation of Tally, Tally 3.0 – the most advanced retail robot on the market. With its enhanced optical system and improved durability and maneuverability,  Tally 3.0 uses a suite of sensors to operate safely during normal store hours alongside shoppers and employees. Its new embedded data processor enables the robot to analyze inventory more quickly and share critical shelf insights with store teams faster, allowing retailers to address issues like empty shelves and misplaced products more quickly, resulting in a better in-store experience. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tally also helps retailers reduce employee to customer contact and keep aisles less crowded by replacing the need for teams to regularly survey products alongside shoppers. 

Now, current and future customers of Aveny Dennison can experience a glimpse of “retail nirvana” at Avery Dennison’s RFID Lab at Miamisburg, Ohio, in addition to any Decathlon store in the US.

Francisco Melo, Vice President and General Manager, Avery Dennison Smartrac, states: “We are excited to welcome Simbe’s latest Tally iteration into our RFID Lab. We believe in a future where every physical item has a unique digital identity, and the value that it delivers in store is linked to both the accuracy and efficiency of the reading infrastructure. We see value for our customers, who have adopted or are considering adopting RFID technology in their stores, to utilize an autonomous inventory solution, like Tally, in complex retail environments. We see increasing interest in the technology with important customers like Decathlon testing it today."

“We’re pleased to partner with Avery Dennison, the leader in RFID, to unveil Tally 3.0,” said Brad Bogolea, co-founder and CEO of Simbe. “At Simbe, we believe better inventory data is the key to unlocking massive efficiency and opportunity across the retail supply chain. We look forward to continuing to provide the most advanced solution on the market to the retail industry’s most challenging, common pain point – inventory management.”

For more detailed information about Tally and the benefits of automated inventory counting, please check out our webinar recording

To arrange a virtual or in person demo of Tally please work with your local Avery Dennison account manager.

About Simbe Robotics

Simbe Robotics is the global leader in automation solutions that give retailers unprecedented visibility and insight into the state of their store environments while improving inventory and operational challenges. Simbe is a privately held, venture-backed company headquartered in San Francisco, CA and works with major worldwide retailers and brands across the US, Europe, and Asia. For more information, visit www.simberobotics.com or follow the company at @simberobotics.


About Decathlon

Since 1976, Decathlon has been making sports more accessible to everyone with high quality, affordable sports gear and equipment. Decathlon designs, innovates and produces its own products; this vertical integration means that Decathlon is able to ensure the highest value at the best price point with the goal of increasing access to sports for people of all levels and abilities. Founded in Lille, France, Decathlon now has over 1,600 stores worldwide and a presence in 70 countries and is a leading sporting goods retailer and brand. For more information about Decathlon, visit www.decathlon.com and use @DecathlonUSA on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter


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