Techno-trolley saves Asda a small fortune
Some supermarkets lose up to 80% of their trolleys (carts) each year. But UK based ASDA is rolling out a techno-trolley to make more trolleys available in-store, and to significantly reduce its annual fleet replacement costs.
ASDA has announced an investment of £2.4 million in the new 'techno-trollies', after a successful trial at six stores throughout England, Wales and Scotland.
Prior to the trial (held at at Sinfin, Livingston, Cardiff Bay, Southampton, Parkhead Forge, Portsmouth and Beckton) the stores lost almost 80% of their trolleys each year. But the new system has cut the rate of loss to less than 5% overall.
Another 37 locations are to receive the trolleys, ensuring that those stores - which are together responsible for 70% of all ASDA's trolley losses each year - are covered by the end of 2002.
Trolley technology The technology behind trolley is based on radio frequency emissions. Radio waves (carried by an underground cable) mark out the boundary around the store where trolleys can freely circulate. But when a trolley passes across the boundary, a signal is sent to a receiver on the trolley, which brings itself to a halt by applying its brakes.
With regular trolleys costing up to £100 each, the scheme will minimise the cost of replacing those lost each year. Better still, customers will have less to complain about as a full complement of trolleys will remain available to them in-store.
Trial results After losing almost a whole fleet of trolleys (some 550) every year, Sinfin was the first store to trial the new techno-trollies. Since then, the store has lost just 15 trolleys in the past seven months, and the store no longer receives complaints about rogue trolleys being dumped in the town.
Livingston has lost just one trolley in the past four months, down from 460 trolleys per year. Portsmouth has lost five trolleys in just over two months, while Cardiff Bay has lost just six in two months (down from 460 per year). Southampton has lost two trolleys in two months (down from 331 per year). Beckton has lost eight trolleys in the past 48 days. Parkhead Forge has lost thirteen trolleys in two months (down from 1,090).
Environmental fines In a September 2001 test case, one UK supermarket was fined £30,000 (plus legal costs of £7,500) for permitting shopping trolleys to be dumped in a local river. With a precedent like this, supermarkets across the UK have good reason to protect both their trolleys and their local environment.