At the reta awards 2021, Bizerba was again awarded the coveted Top Supplier Retail 2021 seal by the EHI Retail Institute. This year‘s reta award went to the REWE Group subsidiary BILLA MERKUR Austria for its use of the Smart Shelf solution from Bizerba in MERKUR bakery shops.
The networked Smart Shelf solution offered by Bizerba enables completely new applications for efficient inventory management of shelves. From the back office, shelves can be managed, processes automated, and sales increased at the same time. In addition, they also help to significantly reduce food waste. This is accomplished with weighing sensors integrated into the shelf and an intelligent center of gravity algorithm.
Every item removed from the shelf is recorded and analyzed to the nearest gram and centimeter. The system offers maximum flexibility when dividing into individual compartments, regardless of whether two, six or ten compartments are required per level. Any imminent out-of-stock situations are detected by the system early to allow appropriate restocking measures to be initiated – such as automatic oven preheating and sending push notifications to the responsible staff via smartphone, headset, email, or other means.
Pilots in selected MERKUR Bakery shops
The MERKUR trading company of the REWE Group in Austria won the reta award 2021 in the category „Best In-store Solution“ for the use of the Bizerba Smart Shelf solution 2021 in their bakery shops. It allows MERKUR to counteract food waste while guaranteeing continuous availability of goods to customers. The self-service shelf for fresh baked goods received a digital update for this: A precise weighing system automatically detects when which baked item has been removed from the shelf and sends this information to the connected oven when it falls below a defined threshold value, prompting it to start the preheating process.
This permanent digital inventory monitoring not only guarantees that customers will always be greeted with freshly baked items, it also reduces the workload of the bakery staff, who in the past were responsible for inventory control. This is particularly crucial in the current situation. After all, many stores are confronted with phases of greatly increased demand and need to maintain operations with scarce staff resources.
Use of AI in retail
Once the intelligent shelf system has collected enough data, bakery production is adapted to the different days of the week, times of day and even the weather – because demand for fresh rolls is known to vary depending on the course of the day and the weather. This helps to avoid producing too many fresh baked items. Moreover, the Smart Shelf solution from Bizerba has a dynamic automated price adjustment function. If a large quantity of a type of baked item is still left over towards the end of business day, the system automatically reduces the price, allowing targeted sales promotions. Both demand-based, data-driven replenishment and dynamic price adjustment with targeted promotions make a significant contribution to waste reduction.
A significant contribution to waste reduction
“By switching to the Smart Shelf solution from Bizerba, MERKUR is taking even more steps to combat the overproduction of food and is once again assuming the role as a pioneer in terms of digital innovations in the food industry. This means that we are absolutely on the cutting edge and are delighted to be able to further improve the daily shopping experience of our customers with the aid of these state-of-the-art solutions. At the same time, by knowing when which baked items are particularly in demand, we are able to always provide our customers with the fresh baked goods they want,” explains Harald Mießner, Director of Sales at BILLA MERKUR Austria.
Bizerba successfully on course towards digitalization
The award of the coveted Top Supplier Retail 2021 seal confirms Bizerba’s course in digital transformation and the use of artificial intelligence. “It made sense for us to use our expertise in the retail sector to develop digital solutions to well-known problems,” says Franziska Klaiber, Product Line Manager Global Retail at Bizerba. “In retail, inventory monitoring is a crucial issue. It is primarily a manual task, requiring staff to walk the aisles and check the fill levels of the shelves. Directly on site, the staff decides on any reordering or replenishment needs. The decision is mostly made based on subjective perception and individual experience.
Wrong decisions lead to overfilled shelves: Too many products that don’t sell fast enough and, worst case, have to be discarded once the best-before date has passed.” “With the Smart Shelf, we offer a solution in which important core processes at our customers can be digitalized, optimized and at the same time made more efficient through the use of Bizerba weighing technology in conjunction with artificial intelligence.
This leads in particular to the avoidance of food waste and at the same time enables a more targeted deployment of personnel,” summarizes Andreas Wilhelm Kraut, Chairman of the Board, CEO and shareholder of Bizerba SE & Co. KG, and concludes: “We are especially pleased for our entire team that, in addition to the Top Supplier Retail 2021 seal, we also won second place in the Best Retail Cases Award 2021 in the category ‘Retail Technology’ with our Bizerba Smart Shelf solution.”