Walmart Self-Checkout Being Slowly Replaced? NCR Going Away?

By | December 27, 2023
walmart sco self-checkout

Self-Checkout at Walmart

Update December 25th, 2023 – Latest test in downtown Bentonville Neighborhood market is RFID(?) cart. This example from a local Neighborhood Market store is an opportunity for rapid checkout with a cart full of tagged purchases. We will all be interested to see how this test unfolds in the year ahead.  Meanwhile the troubles for Toshiba continue to grow.

What’s coming next? Optimization is moving from the counter to the upstream cart. Next stop is the shelf itself?

Thanks to Reforming Retail & Jordan for the tip.  Recommended highly subscription (we do…). Forget the sponsor-advertiser led “news portals”.

walmart sco self-checkout

click for full size – walmart sco self-checkout


 

Update 12/6 – New comment added.

We track SCOs as we call them. Everybody uses them from Lowes, Home Depot, to Target to Whole Foods, Costco and yes, Walmart.

Updated 10/16/2023 — see below image and comment

Good article on Reforming Retail detailing what RR thinks the next steps are for Walmart and Self-Checkout. We have a paid subscription and RR is very nice about us republishing their content.  We recommend a paid subscription to access all the articles. We say that very rarely. Reports from Insiders isn’t quite the same as a corporate announcement for sure. We’ll monitor.  For reference Whole Foods uses NCR SCOs. We have an article on their lack of accessibility.



Imagine a company so corrupt that an incompetent CEO can make $20M a year to lose customers the size of the ones in the article title.

Yet that’s exactly what’s happening according to NCR insiders.

Most of you are probably familiar with NCR’s self-checkout technology having interfaced with it at your local box box retailer in the past.

But those days are coming to an end.

Lowe’s partnered with Publicis to build their own self-checkout and replace NCR.

Target similarly gave NCR the boot.

Same wth Home Depot.

And Kroger.

Then came Walmart, the 800-pound gorilla.

Walmart doesn’t like NCR.

This from NCR’s own insiders

So some years ago Walmart decided to build their own self-checkout machine called Gulfstream – image below.

walmart self-checkout

walmart self-checkout

In late 2022 they began deploying the machines in the Dallas market.

The way it works, per the NCR insiders, is like this:

NCR will provide the installation and services of these new Gulfstream self-checkouts. But NCR’s self-checkout product is dead as far as Walmart’s concerned.

There was a hiccup in October of 2022 with Gulfstream’s cash dispensing module so Walmart had NCR come back in to temporarily reinstall their NCR machine until Walmart could get through the holidays.

But now, according to NCR insiders, Walmart is dead set on rolling out their Gulfstreams.

Over the next four years Walmart won’t install any new NCR systems and Walmart will roll out their own. It will probably take decades to replace NCR, but BCS has a warehouse full of Gulfstream machines and even had to buy the building next door to store all of the Gulfstream units.

NCR insider

We called BCS but they offered no comment.

We also asked NCR for comment and they offered none.

As we were told, years ago Walmart went away from NCR to Compucom. It turned out that Compucom didn’t have enough resources so Walmart begrudgingly negotiated a new contract with NCR. But ultimately, Walmart is not a fan of NCR (neither are we fans of companies who pay executives tens of millions a year to screw shareholders and employees).

When we first started deploying the Gulfstream it was taking 6 hours to build the system with 2 technicians, which is labor intensive as these things go. Instead, BCS is going to assemble them all and ship them out, drastically cutting down on NCR installation time.

Under my tenure NCR has lost Lowe’s and Home Depot, so it’s not surprising a larger, more sophisticated retailer is booting NCR.

NCR insider

In response to the bleeding, NCR has made huge personnel reductions according to insiders.

NCR fired so many people to get up profit margins so it looks good on paper. We eliminated territory managers in the self-checkout depart, stopped all travel for installations, and only allow travel for break/fix issues

NCR insider

According to the insiders, the theory is that NCR’s self-checkout business will be sold to Amazon, who own Whole Foods, one of the only sizable retailers left using NCR.

Of course Amazon has their own self-checkout technology, and it’s better if for nothing else than it cuts down on fraud.

Why they haven’t rolled this out to Whole Foods is anyone’s guess.

But in the Walmart vs Amazon world, NCR might make some money on the grudge match.

Just expect all of it to funnel directly into the pockets of NCR’s management.

More About NCR

NCR Money

NCR Money


More SCO self-checkout posts

Other SCOs?

You never know but someone like Fujitsu or others may show up being tested.

self-checkout fujitsu

self-checkout fujitsu 2023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wegmans Self-Checkouts

See link

 

Shopping cart SCO

You attach to cart and just place the items in the cart. At the end a clerk helps with payment

 

Author: Staff Writer

Craig Keefner is the editor and author for Kiosk Association and kiosk industry. With over 30 years in the industry and experience in large and small kiosk solutions, Craig is widely considered to be an expert in the field. Major kiosk projects for him include Verizon Bill Pay kiosk and hundreds of others.

3 thoughts on “Walmart Self-Checkout Being Slowly Replaced? NCR Going Away?

  1. Staff Writer Post author

    Comment: We’ve had several comments/calls regarding this story. Here is a summary:

    · If you see new iterations being tested and Walmart is always testing, let us know

    · Appears that not only NCR hardware but the Fastlane software is being phased out

    · The “hiccup” that RR mentions was not hardware. We are curious if a new application is a result. Typically in-house developers have the least experience with currency devices (but like to think they are simply devices). Simple messaging like “almost full”, “full” and “jammed” are supercritical data points. Plus in-house developers tend to lean into Microsoft and prefer a .NET or equal framework.

    · We are curious how much of the software application developers are Walmart employees. There is a “maturity curve” for web developers and devices, especially cash and currency.

    · Wild example — Imagine someone inserting a paperclip into a coin acceptor or cash acceptor. It generates an error. Ignore at your own peril. And yes, it happens. A cohesive and coordinated software development group pays off for major projects.

    · The Gulfstream appears to be going live.

    · Note it doesn’t use the standard biopic scanner (which can see 6 sides of the product). Walmart appears to be changing the methods. Possible other avenues include cameras (some with lidar), Barcode, RFID and weight scales to decode the product(s) on the flat area laid out

    · Yes, the self-service people at NCR are nervous

    · Worth noting the service department which is mostly funded by Walmart is now under the gun (in several ways). It will be interesting to see how other segments (like Aloha for example) are affected by the recent restructuring.

    Easy to imagine Walmart is in part subsidizing the entire NCR service apparatus.

  2. Staff Writer Post author

    From current NCR employee.

    Recently, NCR created their latest generation self checkout unit using the ITL Jarvis coin system. These units can be identified by the bolt-on receipt printer on the top of the unit, usually on the back right. This thing is an absolute hunk of shxx. Having serviced the previous models multiple times, one can confidently say this Jarvis system is a few steps backwards in terms of ease of use/repair and quality of components.

    We were recently at our training facility in Georgia, and one of the instructors was talking to us about some of the current issues going on with Walmart. Namely, because corporate has outsourced the factory workers, quality, quality control, and testing has gone downhill like an anvil off a cliff. Units were (and still are) being shipped out without everything being tested properly, wires are being pinched causing short circuits and comms issues, and sometimes parts are just flat out missing. Recently, Walmart sent two high level employees to the factory to obtain two receipt printers and mounting plates, and were instructed not to leave without them. The employees came into the factory, told NCR management that they were taking two units, and then left. That’s how bad things currently are.

    I was sent to work on a brand new unit, and I had to order a part that I believe was necessary for fixing the unit. The part took weeks to show up, didn’t fix anything, and the lane is still not accepting cash/coins to this day because the ticket got closed out.

    I am absolutely not surprised and the slightest at reading about the former CEOs failure as a human being and a manager, because that explains so much about what we’ve been seeing going on, especially with this retarded split that is happening. I can talk more about that as well, but this email is getting long enough as is.

  3. Staff Writer Post author

    On the new unit one guess BRDG made it. But that is a 100% guess. They are multi-validation unit. Customer shops with scan-n-go push the cart next to unit (in blue tape area) for validation before bagging. This is integrated with WM scan-n-go mobile app. the multi-valdation uses barcode, digimarc, rfid, and vision technology to valiate the items in the cart. currently there is a qty limit of about 15 but as the system matures this will be increased. This is where it gets fuzzy. Do they plan on 100% validation or do they want to validate a % of the items since they know who they are with the scan-n-go app. We just haven’t had a 1 on 1 conversation about future yet.
    Ref: https://brdg.co/

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