Walmart is ending its a contract with Bossa Nova, the producer of a robot that scans shelves for inventory counts, as the company recently came up with simple, cost-effective solutions to manage the inventory of products on its shelves with human employees rather than robots.
In some Walmart stores, robots walk around in the sales departments and help make sure shelves are full and tidy, but the company has decided to terminate its contract with the robot manufacturer. At the end of their contract, there were about 500 robots working in more than 4,700 Walmart stores.
Walmart has seen impressive sales growth during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans buy wipes, canned food, toys, and more. The company’s online sales nearly doubled in the second quarter, as consumers shipped their orders home, and it challenged the company to restock its shelves and ensure it had enough stock.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon stated that the erratic supply was still a problem, and added that if he could change one thing about Walmart’s workflow it would be to get it to have a larger inventory of merchandise. The company says it has devised simple, cost-effective ways to run the inventory of products on its shelves by human employees rather than robots, as it is concerned about customer reaction to robots.
However, the company launched another technology experiment, and said last week that it will transform four of its stores into laboratories to test digital tools and strategies that can speed up the process of rearranging shelves and fulfilling orders on the Internet.