Monday October 21, 2019
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Flipkart Uses Robots to Deliver Parcels in Thousands Daily to Minimize Delay

Touted to be the first in India, the robot-based sortation technology is the only one in use in Asia outside China

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robots, fliokart
A-I powered bots, known as automated guided vehicles (AGVs), work together to enable us deliver the customer packages at the earliest. VOA

As India’s leading e-tailer, Flipkart uses about 100 robots to sort out parcels automatically in thousands daily to minimize delays in delivering what customers buy online on its website, an official said on Tuesday.

“To speed up delivery, we are using about 100 bots (robots) powered by automation intelligence (AI) at the clearing facility to sort the parcels ordered by customers in thousands from across the country,” city-based world retail giant Walmart arms’s spokesperson told IANS here.

As it is humanly not possible to handle the parcels in thousands in a short time, emerging technologies like AI, ML (machine learning), and cloud computing data analysis, have ushered in a paradigm shift to speed up and scale logistics.

Flagging the role of technology in speeding up processing the data and sorting the packages using sensors, the company was able to turn around 4,500 shipments an hour at twice the speed, with 99.9 per cent accuracy, said the company in a statement.

flipkart, robot
“To speed up delivery, we are using about 100 bots (robots) powered by automation intelligence (AI) at the clearing facility to sort the parcels ordered by customers in thousands from across the country,” Wikimedia Commons

“A-I powered bots, known as automated guided vehicles (AGVs), work together to enable us deliver the customer packages at the earliest. With minimal human intervention pre-programmed bots sort out faster and better for quick delivery,” said a company spokesperson.

With disruptive technologies changing the game for a country rapidly embracing e-commerce, the spokesperson clarified that bots were, however, not replacing humans who are being used in the supply chain and logistics where they are used.

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The AGVs, which are cuboidal and tiny, move swiftly. As they are fitted with sensors, the 100 odd robots don’t bump into each other but wait as self-driving vehicles do in traffic.

“We have been using the bots over the last two months on a trial basis in tandem with our employees at our large facility, which is the mother hub where 4,500 packages are sorted out an hour, 24×7,” the spokesperson added. Touted to be the first in India, the robot-based sortation technology is the only one in use in Asia outside China. (IANS)

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DPIIT Sends Questionnaire to Amazon, Flipkart on FDI Norms Adherence: Report

The body also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should constitute a group of ministers (GoM) to look into the distortions in both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar formats of retail

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Flipkart Buys Back Shares Worth $350 mn.
New e-commerce norms to impact e-tailers: Flipkart. IANS

After repeated complaints by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) over alleged violation of FDI norms by e-commerce majors, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has sent a questionnaire to Amazon and Flipkart over their adherence to the norms for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

The questions are concerned with their fund flow, business model and inventory management, people in the know of things said, adding that it also asks the names of their respective top five sellers and price list of vendors on these platforms.

Official sources said that the department would look into their replies and then decide whether more clarification is required or any action needs to be taken.

“It is basically related to the complaints of small retailers, and a series of questions have been sent to them which are relevant to understand the allegations which small retailers make about these online platforms which are under FDI,” a source told IANS.

Questions sent to Amazon and Flipkart by IANS, however, were not immediately replied.

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Traders’ body CAIT has time and again approached the government for its intervention regarding the “deep” discounts offered by these platforms during festival sales. CAIT recently sought an independent audit of the business models of both Amazon and Flipkart on the charges of predatory pricing and deep discounting, among others.

amazon, one-day delivery
An Amazon Prime Truck is on the Road in Virginia, transporting thousands of items ordered from online giant Amazon. (D Bekheet/VOA)

The move by DPIIT comes after Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal last week warned of strict action against e-commerce companies if they were found violating India’s e-commerce policy.

In a related development, CAIT on Sunday alleged that not only the e-commerce companies, but even large number of brands in mobile, FMCG, electronics, electrical appliances, footwear, garments, gift articles, watches and other segments as well as several banks are also responsible for distortion of prices of different products on online portals.

“It is apparent that these brand-owning companies are also exploiting the offline market being hand in glove with e-commerce companies having separate price policy for both online and offline markets which is a clear violation of the Competition Act,” CAIT said in a statement.

It also criticised the banks which give cash back and different types of discounts for purchasing goods from e-commerce portals by making payments through their respective credit or debit cards.

The body also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should constitute a group of ministers (GoM) to look into the distortions in both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar formats of retail. (IANS)