- Kum & Go has partnered with cleaning technology company ICE Cobotics to deploy floor-cleaning robots across its entire store network, according to an emailed announcement.
- The rollout features ICE Cobotics’ battery-operated Cobi 18 autonomous floor scrubbers, which run for 90 minutes at a time and can clean 5,000-7,000 square feet per hour.
- Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go will use the autonomous floor scrubbers to “support stores during times of staffing challenges,” Marty Roush, vice president of operations for Kum & Go, said in the announcement.
With hiring and retention continuing to present challenges for c-stores, automation can help retailers optimize labor efficiency while improving the employee experience, experts say.
By integrating the Cobi 18 floor scrubbers, Kum & Go will be able to “free up associates from repetitive work,” so they can focus on keeping shelves and coolers stocked, working on fresh food offerings and increasing engagement with customers, according to the announcement.
“Kum & Go’s continuous improvement culture drives us to find equipment and process improvements that make it easier for our store associates to execute,” Roush said in the announcement.
The scrubbers also let retailers track their “clean score” through a mobile app to see how the machine has performed with various routes. Users only need to set the floor scrubbing route once, and the machine will know to follow that path from then on. It costs retailers $15 per day to use, and can be deployed multiple times per day.
Kum & Go is the second U.S. c-store retailer to work with ICE Cobotics. Last October, Phillips 66 tapped the technology company to bring the floor-cleaning robots to its more than 7,000 branded fuel locations.
Floor-scrubbing bots have made inroads in the grocery industry, but still largely remain an untapped resource in c-stores, especially in the U.S.