Flipkart instill robots to help clear the delivery mess

Flipkart's revenue grows by 50%

Flipkart is India’s largest e-commerce platform. It was started by two of Amazon’s ex-employees known as Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal. The duo is no more at Flipkart but walked out with huge piles of money. To put a number on it, the duo has around $1 billion each in their pockets. That said, the company is now owned by Walmart.

Walmart tried to enter India on several different occasions but failed. This is their best attempt and it has started out with losses because of the new FDI policy. Walmart incurred losses worth $5 billion in its first 8 months. However, these numbers are nine times less than Amazon which happens to be its competitor in India.

Amongst this storm of FDI policy and the losses coming in, Flipkart is trying to automate its delivering hubs. The company has started out with one near its headquarters in Bengaluru. The company is not firing personnel for robots but it has instilled 100 robots in a delivery hub near Bengaluru. These robots will not take any of the people’s work but it will help them bridge a gap between two departments.

These robots will carry the products from the conveyer belt after scanning them. They will drop the product in necessary chute according to their pin code. These robots can scan and drop around 4500 packages per hour which is ten times more than the humans. These robots can increase the number of packages if the count of robots is increased along with minimal changes to the infrastructure.

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) is what they are called. This system is supposed to be essential in the Indian e-commerce market as many companies will implement it. The product might be delivered earlier and there are very fewer chances of a package being mishandled or misplaced. This has been coming for a long time now. That is because the company had invested in some of the leading automation startups a while back.

Automation might help in reducing the time required for the item to be delivered. This will have a huge effect on the delivery time as well. That said, the company is trying to install the robots in all of its hubs according to the sources close to ET. This will help achieve the one-day deliveries more and the schedule could be on time.

That said, none of these robots will have an effect on the jobs of the workers in that Flipkart delivery hub. It will rather make their jobs easier.

-Unmesh Phule

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