Robots coming to Walmart warehouses

Automation improves workplace safety, makes job easier for associates, says company

Robots coming to Walmart warehouses

Walmart Canada will soon have robots working at its warehouses in Ontario, according to a report.

The multinational retail corporation is introducing material handling robotics and automation technologies that, it says, will keep “operations bustling” and improve ergonomics for associates.

This comes after the employer piloted its automated receiving solution at their Regional Distribution Centre (RDC) in Calgary in Alberta back in March.

"We're super excited about what we've done in Calgary and we're super excited to scale that and get it into our other sites," said Matt Kelly, Walmart Canada's vice-president of supply chain, in a report from CTV News.

There is also a growing number of restaurants that have been tapping the services of robots to automate some jobs.

What is the new technology used by Walmart?

In launching the project, Walmart Canada noted the following changes:

“Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) will be zipping around, transporting received pallets of products to processing stations. Robotic depalletizers will impressively place the received pallets directly onto conveyors. And to finish it off, Auto Case Label Applicators will automatically scan and apply shipping labels to packages as they flow through to the shipping dock.”

This solution is making the whole process go 90% faster, according to the company. And it also makes the workplace safer, said Kelly.

"Every associate within our supply chain has the right to go home to their families at the end of the day with no injuries, no cuts, no grazes, no scrapes, nothing more serious," Kelly said in The Canadian Press report.

Previously, senators in the U.S. proposed a No Robot Bosses Act.

Are robots replacing workers?

Walmart’s robots have not nixed the employer’s need for workers. In fact, when it announced plans to build the $118 million Calgary distribution centre in 2022, it said the facility would create 325 new jobs, Kelly said, according to CTV News.

"We need the human element for oversight and from a safety perspective," Kelly said.

"What we want our associates to focus on is the problem solving and the critical thinking elements that are always there to run a good, safe supply chain."

The high-tech makeover will take place across all Walmart Canada distribution and fulfilment centres, according to the employer. Walmart Canada has 16 active distribution and fulfilment centres from coast to coast, employing nearly 7,000 associates.

A previous study led by Oracle and Future Workplace found that 82% of workers believe robots can do certain tasks more efficiently than their leaders.

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