- Kroger has started using artificial intelligence and machine learning technology from Google Cloud to boost productivity in its stores, according to a Friday press release.
- Employees for the grocer are using a pair of tools Kroger developed in partnership with the internet giant and Deloitte Consulting to track products, monitor staffing levels and manage other tasks.
- Kroger’s collaboration with Google comes as grocers continue to look for ways to improve efficiency as they navigate a challenging labor market.
Kroger framed its decision to invest in the technology Google is providing as a way to improve the shopping experience for customers who visit its stores by empowering associates with data-based insights that can help them do their jobs better.
The new Google-based applications the grocer has begun using include a task-management tool that provides night crew members with details about the quantity and types of goods arriving at stores, according to the announcement. The tool also assembles details about stocking needs and offers visibility into a store’s staffing picture, and uses that information to determine tasks for workers. In addition, the system transmits real-time updates on inventory or delivery changes.
The second tool Kroger has started using is intended to help managers and department heads oversee store audits. The system generates instructions for workers to follow when walking around the store and provides a standardized audit checklist, the press release said.
“Google Cloud and Deloitte brought us a technology architecture and application framework that we could implement in record time. We're already seeing results across our stores, with associate tasks being optimized and overall productivity increasing," Jim Clendenen, vice president of enterprise retail systems for Kroger, said in a statement.
Google said Deloitte built the framework for the tools using technology that can crunch data related to when products will be delivered, worker availability and specific events occurring throughout the day at different stores to determine how associates should prioritize their time. The system takes advantage of Google Cloud’s ability to sift through data about labor rates, logistics, sales forecasting and products that are out of stock.
Friday’s press release from Google Cloud about its tie-up with Kroger follows the company’s announcement the previous week that it has designed artificial intelligence-driven technology that lets retailers track items on store shelves using imagery. In 2021, Kroger began using Google Maps to provide pickup service to shoppers at more than 2,000 stores.
Google also entered a partnership with Hy-Vee in 2021 under which the Midwestern grocery chain is using cloud-based technology to manage digital services. Also that year, Albertsons began using Google’s Search and Maps products to serve online customers.