Walmart Says ‘We’re Going Big’ With Robots, Freeing Up Humans To Sell, Sell, Sell

Walmart Says ‘We’re Going Big’ With Robots, Freeing Up Humans To Sell, Sell, Sell

Walmart U.S. President and CEO Greg Foran talks about using a robot, right, to scan shelves and help employees with real-time inventory data at a Walmart Supercenter Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Walmart Inc. is adding thousands of robots in stores to do “mundane, repetitive” work like clean floors, monitor inventory and unload trucks as the retail giant tries to control labor costs while increasing wages and offering new services such as grocery delivery.

The robots will allow Walmart’s 1.5 million employees to do work they’re more uniquely qualified for, the company said in a press release — that is sell, sell, sell.

U.S. job openings have exceeded the number of people looking for jobs for the past year, Motley Fool reported. That has made it hard in some markets for companies to fill jobs. Walmart pays a minimum wage of $11 per hour, but workers earn “$17.55 on average with wages and benefits,” CEO Doug McMillon said, according to Reuters.

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The company tested robot technology in 2018 to minimize the time associates spend on mundane and repetitive tasks like cleaning floors or checking inventory on a shelf.

In the press release, Walmart said the robots are saving customers time and money, but did not say how much.

In a tight labor market, automation can help cut down on demand, Daniel Kline wrote for Motley Fool. However, workers “should not grow complacent and should realize that many entry-level positions will someday be automated. That makes it important for people in those jobs to take advantage of training and educational opportunities.

“The more you know and the more that you can do, the harder it is to replace you with a robot,” Kline wrote.

Walmart says “we’re going big” with robots, and plans to add:

  • 1,500 new autonomous floor cleaners
  • 300 additional shelf scanners
  • 1,200 more unloaders
  • 900 new Pickup Towers