Walmart Stands To 'Save Money, Live Better' - With Robots

Retailers have been increasingly turning towards emerging new technologies to improve productivity, manage costs, as well as promote more efficient and entertaining shopping experiences.

Several U.S.-based companies, including Walmart (NYSE: WMT), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and giant supermarket chain Kroger (NYSE: KR), have recently invested heavily in automated systems to boost their operational capabilities, with an eye on bolstering their bottom lines.

Walmart, for example, recently teamed-up with Brain Corporation, a San Diego-based artificial intelligence (AI) company, to roll out a fleet of in-store floor cleaners.

Brain Corp claims its BrainOS platform currently automates more than a hundred of Walmart's commercial floor scrubbers across the U.S., and the giant retailer expects to have around 360 robots powered by the platform in stores by the end of its fiscal year, January 31, 2019.

The move will certainly have an impact on Walmart’s workforce, as the machines infiltrate and replace human resources – and as job descriptions change.

John Crecelius, Walmart's VP of central operations, said that BrainOS is “a powerful tool in helping our associates complete repetitive tasks so they can focus on other tasks within role and spend more time serving customers."

Working with “others”

Indeed, Walmart, along with the broader labor market landscape, is ripe to undergo a major transformation, amid the rising tide of AI and robotics deployments.

According to a recent study conducted by McKinsey Global Institute, more jobs than those lost or gained “will be changed as machines complement human labor in the workplace.”

McKinsey noted that partial automation will likely become more prevalent as machines complement human labor, and “jobs with repetitive tasks could shift toward a model of managing and troubleshooting automated systems.” The study pointed to Amazon, where employees who previously lifted and stacked objects “are becoming robot operators, monitoring the automated arms and resolving issues such as an interruption in the flow of objects.”

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Disclosure: The author does not hold any positions in the financial instruments referenced in the materials provided.

The analysis in this material is provided for information only and is ...

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