Walmart To Add More Robot ‘Employees’ In Its Stores

Lower sales
Walmart supermarket (Photo: Reuters)

Walmart announced that it will be adding robots in its stores and they will work alongside the human employees. After rounds of tests that were carried out last year, the retailing company will deploy thousands of machines to do a variety of jobs in it's brick and mortar stores. 

Walmart has around 1.5 million employees in the U.S. alone and with the installation of the robots, the company did not say that it will fire some of the staff. Rather, it was mentioned in the press release that was published on Tuesday that it is planning to give employees more opportunity to serve customers face-to-face.

"Smart assistants have huge potential to make busy stores run more smoothly, so Walmart has been pioneering new technologies to minimize the time an associate spends on the more mundane and repetitive tasks like cleaning floors or checking inventory on a shelf," the statement from Walmart reads. 

John Crecelius, Walmart's senior vice president of Central Operations further said, "Our associates immediately understood the opportunity for the new technology to free them up from focusing on tasks that are repeatable, predictable and manual."

 He continued, "It allows them time to focus more on selling merchandise and serving customers, which they tell us have always been the most exciting parts of working in retail."

Likewise, CNN reported that Walmart wants the staff in the stores to be more active in dealing with customers and helping them out with what they need instead of mopping up floors and moving boxes from and to the storage rooms. The said tasks would be delegated to the robots and human employees would be free to face the buyers.

Walmart further stated that having robots in the stores will help them boost sales and make the outlets more efficient. With the machines, the company is also hoping to address the problem with finding workers who can consistently work in the stores overnight and unload the supplies from the trucks.

As listed on the USA Today report, Walmart is employing the following robots: the Auto-C, a machine that was designed to clean the floors. These are like the robot janitors and the company is deploying 1,500 of them in stores nationwide.   

Second, the Auto-S scans the items on the shelves and make sure that the products have the right price tags. Walmart will employ 300 of these robot scanners.

Next is the FAST Unloaders that automatically sorts out the products after being unloaded from the truck.  This machine will help human staff to move inventory from the storage to the store faster.

Lastly, the 900 Pickup Towers will be used for customers who buy online. When staff confirmed the order, the item is placed in this robot vending machine and the customer will get an email that says their order is ready.

Walmart stated that these "smart assistants" will save time and have the staff work more actively in the customer service area.

"The overall trend we're seeing is that automating certain tasks gives associates more time to do work they find fulfilling and to interact with our customers," Walmart's CEO Doug McMillon said.

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