A strategically placed sensor above each till measures body heat, to accurately predict the number of people waiting.
This information is then displayed on large electronic panels above each till.
Steven Oliver, manager of Tesco Stockport, one of only a handful of stores trialling the new technology said: “The system is absolutely fantastic.
“It enables us to be proactive with allotting the correct amount of cashiers to tills at precisely the right time.”
The system builds on Tesco’s ‘One in Front’ policy, whereby the necessary amount of checkouts are opened so there is never more than one person in front of the last in the queue.
Performance targets are
displayed on the overhead screens, with 100% representing no queue, 90% one in front, 80% two in front and so on.
Before the trial began, checkout operators were counting and manually entering the number of people queuing at their tills.
A Tesco spokesman said: “Not only is the new automatic system more accurate, but it also saves the operator a large amount of time and effort, speeding up the checkout process.”
The new system is just as effective in quiet periods in the store, when checkouts can be closed and assistants put to better use on the shop floor, said the spokesman.
Although the system was specifically designed as an aid for store managers, customers have also been putting it to good use.
One such customer at Tesco Stockport, said: “It’s marvellous, we looked at the screens and decided where we would queue. It has definitely cut waiting times.”
The new technology is expected to be rolled out across all Tesco stores in the near future.