Walmart is doubling down on its push for automation, but CEO and President Doug McMillon says workers have no reason to fear losing their jobs.
Companies continue to develop AI at an astonishing pace, with it being used in everything from chatbots to workplace automation. The latter is particularly concerning to many workers who fear AI will eventually take their jobs.
McMillon says that’s not the case, despite Walmart increasingly relying on automation.
“We see the opportunity to accelerate that progress with investments in supply chain automation which includes data, software, and robotics,” McMillon said at an investor event. “We’ll improve item location accuracy, in-stock levels, unit economic costs, and delivery speed. The combination of sales growth, productivity improvements, and business mix changes will enable us to grow profitability faster than sales.”
“A key part of the strategy is automation, like you saw yesterday,” added John Furner, President and CEO, Walmart US. “If you ask “Why automate?” The answer is it helps our customers and our associates and our business. Automation helps our customers with better accuracy, availability, and speed.
“Automation helps our associates. It results in less manual labor. Over time, we believe we’ll have the same or more associates and a larger business overall. There will be new roles emerging that are less manual, better designed to serve customers, and pay more.”
The news will likely reassure employees about their job security and future roles within the company.