Media reports
People + automation = intelligence (more adaptive production)  2020/11/20
✏️article sharing:
People are better to use? Wal-Mart "fired" shelf scanning robots in 500 stores and used manual labor again
During the epidemic, American retail giant Walmart's revenues and profits exceeded expectations, and its e-commerce business doubled, but it also found another gain: if it is properly scheduled, the capabilities of human employees will not lose to robots.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Wal-Mart’s recent suspension of its contract with robotics company Bossa Nova is equivalent to “expelling” shelf-scanning robots in 500 stores and letting human employees take over the work.
This reverses the argument that Wal-Mart has often mentioned at shareholder meetings for many years, that is, this 180 cm high robot assists in scanning shelves and identifying products that need to be restocked, which can reduce labor costs and increase sales. People familiar with the matter said that Wal-Mart told Bossa Nova: “We saw improvements in the store after the robots were introduced, but the improvement in revenue and other indicators was not large enough.”
Of course, the lack of inventory that robots want to solve is indeed an important issue for retailers. Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon (Doug McMillon) said in an interview with the financial channel CNBC that sporadic out-of-stocks continue to be a problem, and said he hopes Wal-Mart "Inventory levels can be higher." "Harvard Business Review" pointed out that, imagine that as a consumer, seeing that there is no inventory in the store, he will definitely be disappointed, and even lead to a decline in store loyalty. According to industry forecasts, insufficient inventory will cause as much as $1 trillion in losses.
During the epidemic, when customers flooded into stores and online orders flooded into the website, Walmart assigned more employees to frequently walk back and forth in the aisle, fulfill online orders, and update inventory information. Instead, they found that it was just as useful to solve the problem of insufficient inventory. The Wall Street Journal pointed out that another concern about not using robots is that John Furner, the CEO of Wal-Mart's US branch, is worried that customers will be very cynical when they see robots working in stores.
However, Wal-Mart's abandonment of shelf scanning robots does not mean that it will completely abandon the use of technology, nor does it mean that the value of robots ends there.
"Harvard Business Review" pointed out that what the robot can do is accurately and continuously return inventory levels. For example, it detects and calculates that the inventory of sugar-free peanut butter decreases twice as fast as sugar-free peanut butter. , It can immediately issue replenishment notifications; this is the same as high-frequency trading. It finds and utilizes short-lived real-time stock price differences, which will accumulate into huge profits over time. In addition, the robot compares and calculates inventory data with other data, and can also infer and predict customer preferences.
At present, although Wal-Mart has "fired" some robots, it still keeps the sweeping robots. According to CNBC, the direction Wal-Mart wants to work on most now may be to make good use of the e-commerce boom that broke out in the epidemic, combining human employees and automation technology, and 1+1 will produce greater effectiveness.
CNBC reported that Wal-Mart announced at the end of October that it would turn four stores into "e-commerce laboratories", change store design, and speed up replenishment of inventory and fulfillment of online orders. The retailer will test an augmented reality app, where the clerk can directly scan multiple boxes in the warehouse at once, instead of moving the boxes to the store floor to scan them one by one. In addition, they will also use new product labels and handheld devices to reduce the time for shop assistants to search for products when fulfilling online orders.
Wal-Mart senior executive John Crecelius (John Crecelius) said that small changes like this can bring huge returns. He pointed out that since the switch to new product labels and handheld devices, for certain difficult product categories, the proportion of employees who find designated products as soon as they fulfill online orders has increased by 20%. Wal-Mart’s new product label is inspired by the airport terminal number, which is composed of a letter and a number; sometimes, without much fanfare, you can switch to cutting-edge robotics technology to get the effect of digital transformation.
The article is taken from:
Smart Equipment CO., LTD.
ADD:No. 5-17, Wenshan N. Ln., Nantun Dist., Taichung City 408019 , Taiwan (R.O.C.)