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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Wal-Mart Optimizes Pallets, Job Implication Unclear

I would point out that this is not a new thing,  we did exactly this long ago with algorithms to optimize pallets and other component aspects  of the supply chain.   Good idea then and now.   Hardly a AI idea.   The article mentions jobs but that was never considered then.

In Supplychain Digest.

...  40% is the projected increase in throughput that Walmart expected to gain from a planned new highly automated grocery distribution center it is building in Shafter, CA versus its current DC design. The retailer's announcement said this will be "Walmart's first high-tech distribution center for fresh and frozen groceries. Set to open in Fall 2020, the new DC will support 200 stores. While details are scarce, this will involve automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) and automated palletization both in terms of handling and the smarts to build ideal pallets. "Every product is measured and documented so that we know how to handle it," said Shayne Wahlmeier, one of the Walmart engineers on the project. "A computer algorithm shows all the cases ordered for a given store and determines how to palletize them to maximize the space on a pallet or trailer. It also takes into account density – what's crushable, what's not." Walmart is also touting the fact that the automated DC – which will brings goods to pickers – will make the job for DC workers better – though the impact on jobs is not clear.  ... "

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