Wal-Mart Robots

Wal-Mart has been testing robots that are designed to scan shelves for missing inventory, update stocks, and tag misplaced items. According to the article from MSN, these robots will be approximately 2 feet tall and are “50 percent more productive” by scanning the shelves “three times faster” than employees. This is a big concept for retailers because customers cannot purchase goods if they are not on the stock.

This is the first time I have heard of such technology. Can you see this concept working? What problems or concerns to you have with this innovative technology. Does this have the potential to disrupt the market of retail employees?


2 thoughts on “Wal-Mart Robots

  1. Breaking this innovation down, I see very clear benefits and drawbacks. Increased efficiency is always a good thing. Wal-Mart is such a very general store; the shopping experience isn’t designed for a specific audience. Instead, Wal-Mart acts as a super convenience store, with all essentials available. Thus, having a more standardized approach to shelving and inventory is in their favor. Additionally, the use of the robots cuts back on costs of employees, be that in the form of wages or by lessening the amount of inventory lost or damaged. However, that same benefit to Wal-Mart as a corporation is a detriment to the economy, particularly that of the lower class. While Wal-Mart and McDonalds are often the butt of high school dropout jokes, they provide an accessible occupation to anyone, regardless of educational background. The removal of employees in favor of the robots will severely affect the rate of unemployment as well as other important income statistics.

  2. Based on the information presented, I could see this concept being very productive. In an article I found from the Fortune website, they suggest that that the idea of installing robots to automate retail is not new. Ahead of Walmart, Amazon already uses “small Kiva robots in its warehouses to handle picking and packing, saving almost 20% in operating expenses”. What I found most interesting about the Fortune article is that it suggests the implementation of these robots would not replace workers or affect employee headcount in stores. I figured that using these robots would leave to job loss for Walmart employees, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. These robots are said to appear in stores in Arkansas, California, and Pennsylvania first, so maybe we will have a chance to see these robots in action soon! http://fortune.com/2017/10/26/walmart-shelf-scanning-robots/

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