Alexander Coolidge of The Cincinnati Enquirer yesterday wrote about Kroger's amazing checkout-line success story: The company succeeded in reducing the average checkout line wait time from 4 minutes to 26 seconds.
This is a cool example of the power of data automation.
"By year's end, the nation's largest grocer expects to complete the installation of overhead infrared sensors that count customers in all 2,424 supermarkets operated by Kroger," Coolidge wrote. "In the past few years, the retailer has quietly widened the use of technology to analyze most popular shopping times to better staff cash registers.
"Customers can see the results of this data changing constantly on light boards at the front of stores. They show the number of checkout lanes in service now, the number needed, and the number projected to be needed in 30 minutes."
Kroger management can plan staffing according to this data and thereby ensure speedy checkouts.
This is a very cool illustration of the power of data automation. Essentially, Kroger has succeeded in automating the process we're all too familiar with: A long line begins to build at the single till open in the grocery store. The lone cashier starts to panic, begins calling the other cashiers to please come to the front and open new tills to meet the demand. In some cases, there simply aren't enough employees staffed that day to meet demand, etc. etc.
This system helps Kroger management staff the right number of people every day AND ensure there are always enough tills open to deliver a speedy checkout experience. Well done, Kroger. Well done.