Colruyt workers save up to 90 minutes a day stocking shelves

Colruyt workers save up to 90 minutes a day stocking shelves

Innovative technology via smartphone which communicates with an electronic price label saves time when stocking the shelves

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Colruyt workers started using the new Product Finder technology today. All 16,000 Colruyt Group store workers received a smartphone that supports them in their day-to-day work some time ago. Today, a test with a very special new application on this smartphone was launched: when store workers scan an item with a barcode scanner connected to their device, the light of the electronic price label on the shelf flashes, telling them where the item goes. Stocking the shelves takes up to 90 minutes less, every day. The new technology was developed by the Colruyt Group Smart Technics innovation team and was successfully tested at the Colruyt stores of Poperinge and Heverlee. The technology was also introduced at the store in Halle today. The further roll-out is scheduled for 2023.

Between 2017 and 2019, all 16,000 Colruyt Lowest Prices, OKay and Bio-Planet store workers received a smartphone. Workers can use these smartphones to communicate with each other and the support services by phone and chat, get information on deliveries, update price labels, read mails and view e-learnings. A new, innovative functionality will now be added which will allow workers to stock the shelves much faster. Stocking the shelves - the wine aisle for example - can be a very time-consuming job. ​

Rudi Dewulf, regional director Colruyt Lowest Prices: “A number of years ago the store workers of the Colruyt Group food formulas were given a smartphone and all stores were equipped with electronic price labels. These smartphones and price labels were a deliberate choice at the time because we knew they would be able to communicate with each other. Our innovation teams developed a new innovative technology that allows us to save up to 90 minutes every day in all 249 Colruyt Lowest prices stores to stock the shelves. This new application fits in our vision to simplify the lives of store workers through digitisation and innovations, and allows them to do their job more efficiently (and enjoyably), because we feel strongly about our worker's well-being. The fact that we're also saving money with this, is a nice bonus.”

It concerns an in-house developed application on our workers' smartphones: when an item is scanned, the light of the electronic price label of the item in question flashes and makes stocking the shelf a lot easier. Workers immediately know where exactly the product needs to go on the shelf: up to 90 minutes per store can be saved, every day.

The new technology was extensively (and successfully) tested over the past months in the Colruyt Lowest Prices stores of Poperinge and Heverlee. The test is currently running in one of the biggest stores, i.e. the Colruyt store of Halle. Rudi Dewulf: “We were able to test the new innovative technology in two stores and are very enthusiastic. Colruyt sells approximately 18,000 items and we know in which aisle they go, but finding the exact location can be tricky at times. For example, the aisle with the many different types of herbs or the wine aisle. Our workers are very enthusiastic.” All Colruyt Lowest prices stores should be able to use the new technology in the second half of 2023. The technology will be rolled out to the OKay stores later.

Colruyt Group will also study whether other uses are possible with the new technology in the future. Rudi Dewulf: “This new technology will primarily be used to restock the shelves in the stores, because it can save us a lot of time which, in turn, will result in a considerable yield. The next step is to see whether the application has other uses, such as for example picking items for customers ordered through Collect&Go or quickly finding items that are close to the best before date. Our priority for this technology today is simplifying our store workers' job. We'll also investigate how customers will be able to use it, maybe with the existing Xtra app.”