Business operation management


Using Drones to Take Inventory at Walmart.

Links to short news item and videos offer details of WalMart’s plans to use drones in its warehouses to count inventory. As seen in the first video, a drone can be moved up and down an aisle packed nearly to the ceiling with boxes, taking dozens of images per second to track inventory. These drones accomplish in as little as a day what took WalMart employees about a month. The last two videos offers a glimpse about Amazon’s initiatives in warehouse automation from robots to flying warehouse for drone delivery, which effectively puts WalMart and other competitors on notice.

Read this:

  1. WalMart drone inventory.pdf

Answer this:

  1. Why are the drones a potentially important inventory management tool in warehouses?
  2. What is Amazon doing to automate its warehouses?
  3. Do these initiatives meaningfully improve delivery time and service experience of Amazon’s customers or will these be just pipe dreams?



Review the following news item to motivate your discussion.

I Dream of Genie, no Amazon!

For your discussion, I am including below links to news items profiling Amazon’s new acquired patent on the idea of anticipatory delivery shipping. This is a company that invests huge amounts of capital in research and development to reduce costs and gain efficiency in the largest part of their supply chain, delivery to the customer. Amazon has now beaten everyone else in the industry to the punch–it has now successfully patented a “method and system for anticipatory shipping.” Using the metadata Amazon collects on its customers (things like how long you hover your mouse over an item), they developed algorithms to predict when it is likely for customers in particular geographical areas to purchase particular products. The products are packaged for home delivery and sent to the targeted geographical hub, before a specific physical address is labeled on the package (since the customer hasn’t actually ordered anything yet). Provide your opinion on what your learned from this news item. In your discussion, you may include your insights on its long-term implications, both good and bad, not just for Amazon but for the entire retailing industry.

  1. Amazon anticipatory shipping.pdf
  2. Amazon US patent.pdf




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