Amazon Using AI to Sort Out Damaged Goods - Modern Distribution Management

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Amazon Using AI to Sort Out Damaged Goods

In its annual handling of about 8 billion packages, Amazon estimates that less than one in 1,000 items are damaged.
Amazon to Hike Multi-Channel Fulfillment Fees

In yet another example of how retail giants are putting artificial intelligence to work, Amazon said May 31 that it will start using AI to sort out damaged packages, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

The company said it will begin unveiling its new AI tool at about a dozen of its largest warehouses to screen items for defects or damages before orders are shipped. Amazon also said the AI efforts will speed up picking and packing and will “eventually play a critical role in the company’s efforts to automate more of its fulfillment operations,” according to the WSJ report.

In its annual handling of about 8 billion packages, Amazon estimates that less than one in 1,000 items are damaged.

Jeremy Wyatt, Amazon Robotics’ director of applied science, told the WSJ that having workers check for damage can be time-consuming.

“That’s cognitively demanding because obviously you’re looking for something that’s rare and it’s not your primary job,” Wyatt said.

Amazon’s announcement is just the latest example of companies employing AI for once-human tasks.

In April, Walmart said it would start using ChatGPT to negotiate cost and purchase terms with vendors in a shorter timeframe. The AI tool has reportedly enabled Walmart to close deals more quickly as it simultaneously negotiates contracts with 2,000 suppliers.

The topic of AI also came up during a recent MDM QuickTake Podcast, where MDM’s Tom Gale and Indian River Consulting Group’s Mike Marks discussed broader AI-backed applications that may soon become widespread in distribution.

Click here to read the full WSJ report.

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