Walmart, Bentonville, Ark., has been pioneering new technologies to minimize the time an associate spends on repetitive tasks like cleaning floors or checking inventory on a shelf.
That’s why the company announced plans to become more automated and robotic. For example:
1,500 new autonomous floor cleaners, aka “Auto-C”. After an associate preps the area, this machine is programmed to travel throughout the open parts of the store, leaving behind a clean, polished floor.
300 additional shelf scanners, aka “Auto-S”. This technology scans items on store shelves to help ensure availability, correct shelf location and price accuracy.
1,200 more FAST Unloaders. Working with the shelf scanner, the FAST Unloader automatically scans and sorts items unloaded from trucks based on priority and department. This allows associates to move inventory from the back room to the sales floor more quickly.
900 new Pickup Towers. A customer places an order online and selects for an in-store pickup. The associate loads the ordered item into the Pickup Tower. When a customer receives a notification via email that the item is available, they can use the Pickup Tower like a giant vending machine to retrieve their purchase.
“Our associates immediately understood the opportunity for the new technology to free them up from focusing on tasks that are repeatable, predictable and manual,” says John Crecelius, senior vice president of central operations. “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.”