Walmart shaping the future of online grocery shopping
Supermarket chain leader Walmart has begun plans for its one of a kind, robot assisted online grocery picking system in its Salem, New Hampshire supercenter store. The company intends on adopting Alert Innovation’s Alphabot technology as a means of optimizing its current online grocery pickup (OGP) service; creating a more convenient shopping experience for both consumers and store associates.
The Alphabot will automate stock retrieval during the OGP process through the use of autonomous carts to obtain refrigerated, frozen and shelf-stable goods from an enclosed storage facility, and then finally to deliver them to store associates. This is a more efficient and accurate method than the manual alternative which is currently used, thus saving time and money, helping to maintain Walmart’s famously low prices. However, store associates will be expected to select fresh produce and meats to ensure that quality standards are met.
So far, the test has proven successful, as they have received some impressive results from computer simulations, indicating that 95% of orders can be retrieved in 8 minutes or less with an average time of 3 to 4 minutes.
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Nestlé uses Food Trust to trace baby food
Blockchain has become increasingly useful for transparency and more efficient product recalls within the food industry. Nestlé has dabbled in the use of the technology previously but was more recently involved in a test using IBM’s Food Trust blockchain system to trace some of its Gerber baby food products. The company tested the traceability of their fruit and vegetable sources, or to be more specific, the ingredients in its sweet potato, apple and pumpkin puree.
Nine other companies have been involved in the trials including, Dole Food, Driscoll’s, Unilever and Walmart, for a more accurate test of the system’s global tracing abilities. Nestlé’s test traced multiple ingredients from several cross-border transactions. This proved to be difficult as Nestlé was faced with the challenge of developing interfaces that connect shipping, trucking, processing and other such systems, which are needed to manage each ingredient. It also had to organize multiple sets of data, in multiple different formats.
For optimum results and speedier investigations, suppliers and competitors will need to adopt a shared record-keeping system. When used successfully, blockchain has proven to trace back products as quickly as 2.2 seconds, compared to seven days without the technology.
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Daimler’s active responsibility
The expansion of the electric automobile industry has brought new procurement demands and a wider use of raw materials. As part of Daimler’s active role in sustainability, it has joined forces with various organizations and associations in 4 raw material initiatives – the Responsible Cobalt Initiative, the Responsible Mineral Initiative, the Responsible Steel Initiative and the Aluminum Stewardship Initiative.
Companies that deal with raw cobalt, a component of the electric vehicle batteries, can often be at risk of infringing on human rights. The Cobalt initiative therefore acts to prevent social and ecological offences upon its extraction, such as child labor, by increasing transparency and control within the supply chain. The Responsible mineral initiative addresses other so called conflict materials; the initiative has developed its own validation scheme to ensure responsible sourcing by refineries and smelters.
As for aluminum and steel, the initiatives have developed their own certification schemes respectively, increasing communication and understanding in the value and supply chain; aiming to improve social and environmental standards while combatting carbon emissions.
More information can be found here.
Have a great weekend!